For their part in a ring that transported stolen catalytic converters worth $600 million from California to New Jersey, three members of a California family entered a guilty plea to conspiracy on Monday, according to federal authorities.
According to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office, Tou Sue Vang, 32, Andrew Vang, 28, and their mother, Monica Moua, 58, were part of “a national network of thieves, dealers, and processors” who sold the stolen auto anti-smog devices to a metal refinery for more than $600 million.
According to prosecutors, 21 people from California and New Jersey have been charged in the case. In exchange for more than $38 million, the three Sacramento family members admitted to planning to move the devices.
According to the prosecution, Tou Sue Vang also admitted guilt to 39 allegations of money laundering. Catalytic converters are simple targets for theft and include platinum, among other precious metals.
The U.S. attorney’s office stated that “some of these precious metals are more valuable per ounce than gold, and their value has been rising in recent years.” “Catalytic converters can cost over $1,000 each on the black market.”
According to federal prosecutors, 37% of catalytic converter theft claims nationwide, or 1,600, are made in California.