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California Residents Admit to Stealing $600 Million Worth of Catalytic Converters

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Federal prosecutors have announced that three members of a California family have pleaded guilty to conspiring to participate in a criminal scheme that involved transporting stolen catalytic converters from California to New Jersey, totaling $600 million.

The brothers, Tou Sue Vang, 32 years old, and Andrew Vang, 28 years old, along with their mother, 58-year-old Monica Moua, were part of a "national network of thieves, dealers, and recyclers" who supplied stolen devices to a metal recycling facility worth over $600 million.

According to prosecutors, charges in this case were filed against 21 individuals from California and New Jersey. Three family members from Sacramento have pleaded guilty to conspiring to transport the devices in exchange for over $38 million.

Tou Sue Vang also pleaded guilty to 39 counts related to money laundering, as stated by the prosecutors.

Catalytic converters are easily stolen because they contain precious metals, including platinum.

"Some of these precious metals are worth more per ounce than gold, and their value has been steadily increasing in recent years," said the US Attorney's Office. "The black-market price of catalytic converters can exceed $1,000 each."

California accounts for 37% of reported catalytic converter thefts nationwide, with approximately 1,600 theft cases registered monthly, according to the federal prosecutors.

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