California Family Pleads Guilty in $600 Million Catalytic Converter Theft Scheme


Summary: Three members of a California family have pleaded guilty to participating in a nationwide catalytic converter theft ring. The ring was responsible for shipping stolen catalytic converters worth $600 million from California to New Jersey. The family members, along with other individuals, provided the stolen devices to a metal refinery in exchange for over $38 million. The theft of catalytic converters is prevalent due to the high value of the precious metals they contain, with some metals being more valuable than gold. California accounts for 37% of catalytic converter theft claims nationwide, with approximately 1,600 reported stolen each month.

Three members of a California family, Tou Sue Vang, Andrew Vang, and their mother Monica Moua, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to a catalytic converter theft scheme. The scheme involved shipping stolen catalytic converters worth $600 million from California to New Jersey.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, the family members were part of a larger network of thieves, dealers, and processors who provided the stolen auto anti-smog devices to a metal refinery. Their involvement resulted in them receiving over $38 million.

Tou Sue Vang also pleaded guilty to charges related to money laundering. Catalytic converters are highly desirable targets for theft due to the precious metals, including platinum, they contain. Some of these metals are more valuable per ounce than gold, and their value has been increasing in recent years.

The black-market price for catalytic converters can exceed $1,000 each. California is a hot spot for catalytic converter theft, accounting for 37% of theft claims nationwide. With approximately 1,600 converters reported stolen each month, the issue is a significant concern for Californians and law enforcement.

Tags: California, catalytic converter theft, conspiracy, money laundering, precious metals