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Three plead guilty to $38 million catalytic converter theft conspiracy

Stolen catalytic converters were shipped to DG Auto Parts in New Jersey who knowingly purchased them

Sacramento, Calif.—Three Sacramento family members pleaded guilty on Monday to charges related to their participation in a nationwide catalytic converter theft conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

Brothers Tou Sue Vang, 32, and Andrew Vang, 28, and their mother Monica Moua, 58, all pleaded guilty to conspiring to transport stolen catalytic converters from California to New Jersey in return for over $38 million in wired payments. Tou Sue Vang also pleaded guilty to an additional 39 charges related to money laundering.

In October and November 2022, federal, state, and local law enforcement partners from across the United States executed a nationwide, coordinated takedown of leaders and associates of a national network of thieves, dealers, and processors for their roles in conspiracies involving stolen catalytic converters sold to a metal refinery for over $600 million dollars. Nine of 21 defendants were charged in the Eastern District of California.

According to court documents, the defendants pleading guilty operated an unlicensed business from their residence in Sacramento where they bought stolen catalytic converters from local thieves and shipped them to DG Auto Parts LLC (DG Auto) in New Jersey for processing. They sold over $38 million in stolen catalytic converters to DG Auto.

Also charged in the 2022 indictment were co-defendants Navin Khanna, aka Lovin Khanna, 40; Tinu Khanna, aka Gagan Khanna, 36; Daniel Dolan, 45; Chi Mo, aka David Mo, 37; Wright Louis Mosley, 50; and Ishu Lakra, 25, all of New Jersey who operated DG Auto in multiple locations in New Jersey.

According to court documents, they knowingly purchased stolen catalytic converters and, through a “de-canning” process, extracted the precious metal powders from the catalytic core. DG Auto sold the precious metal powders it processed from California and elsewhere to a metal refinery for over $600 million. The charges against them are only allegations; they are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tou Sue Vang, Andrew Vang, and Monica Moua are not yet scheduled to be sentenced. Andrew Vang and Monica Moua each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The 40 counts to which Tou Sue Vang pleaded guilty carry various maximum penalties per count ranging from 20 years in prison to five years in prison, and fines that range from $500,000 to $250,000 per count or twice the gross gain or loss from the crimes.

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