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Guilty Pleas In Nationwide $600 Million Catalytic Converter Thefts

Members of a nationwide catalytic converter theft ring pled guilty to conspiring to transport stolen converters from California to New Jersey in return for multi-million dollar payments over a three-year period, USA Today reports. The Vang family were part of a nationwide catalytic converter theft ring that came to a halt a year ago after authorities coordinated a takedown of thieves, dealers and processors. Monica Moua, 58, and her two sons Tou Sue Vang, 32, and Andrew Vang, 28 were paid over $38 million to transport the stolen converters. Tou Sue Vang pleaded guilty to an additional 39 charges related to money laundering. Nine people, out of 21 believed to be involved in the ring, will face charges in California.

Prosecutors said the Vang family ran the operation from their home in Sacramento. After purchasing stolen catalytic converters from local thieves, they shipped the catalytic converters to DG Auto Parts, an LLC registered in New Jersey. Six people who were managing multiple DG Auto locations in New Jersey had knowingly purchased the stolen catalytic converters and extracted the metal powders in the catalytic converter core. The group then proceeded to sell the powders to a metal refinery for money. Precious metals inside the catalytic converter’s core including palladium, platinum, and rhodium can be sold for a large profit. The state of California accounts for 37% of all catalytic converter theft claims reported around the U.S., with about 1,600 stolen monthly in 2022.


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