U.S. proclaims takedown of large catalytic converter theft ring By Reuters

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – U.S. authorities on Wednesday mentioned they’ve taken down a nationwide ring to steal hundreds of catalytic converters from automobiles and vehicles, charging 21 individuals and seizing tens of millions of {dollars} in belongings.

Numerous defendants have been accused in separate indictments unsealed in Sacramento, California, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, of crimes corresponding to transporting and receiving stolen items throughout state traces, and conspiring to commit cash laundering.

Catalytic converters are car exhaust units that convert poisonous gases into safer emissions.

They are often stolen in lower than one minute, usually lack identification particulars that may make them simpler to trace, and might fetch greater than $1,000 on the black market.

The U.S. Division of Justice mentioned many stolen converters have been bought to DG Auto Components LLC of Freehold, New Jersey, which allegedly bought valuable metallic powders it extracted from the units by a “de-canning” course of to a metallic refinery for greater than $545 million.

Authorities are searching for the forfeiture of that sum, after seizing different belongings together with houses, financial institution accounts, luxurious automobiles and money. Legal professional Normal Merrick Garland mentioned 32 search warrants have been executed within the takedown. The alleged scheme started about three years in the past, prosecutors mentioned.

“This nationwide community of criminals harm victims throughout the nation,” FBI Director Christopher Wray mentioned in an announcement. “They made a whole bunch of tens of millions of {dollars} within the course of — on the backs of hundreds of harmless automotive homeowners.”

DG Auto markets itself as that state’s main purchaser of catalytic converters. Its proprietor Navin Khanna, 39, was charged in each indictments.

The corporate didn’t reply calls searching for remark and was not accepting messages throughout enterprise hours. Khanna couldn’t instantly be situated for remark.

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