Amy Cornell, Public Information Officer
Sgt. Kenneth W. Taylor, REACT High Tech Crimes Task Force   CONTACT PERSON:
District Attorney Investigator David Hendrickson
(408) 282-2425   For release on February 18, 2009   REACT TASK FORCE MAKES ARRESTS IN MAJOR BAY AREA IDENTITY THEFT RING
Agents from the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) served a search warrant at Newhall Avenue in San Francisco regarding an ongoing identity theft investigation involving victims all over the Bay Area, including many in Santa Clara County.  The home in the Bay View/Hunters Point District of San Francisco was often referred to as “the Castle” and known to the criminal element that frequented the area as an “after hours” illegal gaming operation, or casino that was equipped with slot machines and other illegal gaming devices. In addition, methamphetamine was purchased at this location. It was also a well-known location for identity thieves to trade their stolen mail that was collected from victims throughout the greater Bay Area, in particular the more affluent residential areas on the San Francisco Peninsula within San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.    27 people were located within the residence, and all were detained and questioned. Four people were arrested for outstanding arrest warrants and/or possession of methamphetamine. Additional evidence of identity theft was located at the scene, and more than $10,000 dollars was seized as proceeds in the illegal gaming and/or sales of methamphetamine. Two rooms of the residence contained numerous functional electronic gaming slot machines. Agents from the REACT Task Force are continuing to investigate and search for additional victims.  At the conclusion of this investigation, the case will be submitted to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office for review.   The REACT Task Force includes members from law enforcement agencies all over the Bay Area. It is considered one of the most effective law enforcement task forces in the United States and depends on grant funding to keep going. Due to state budget woes, REACT is losing much of that funding.   ###

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