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Press Release

Six Defendants Added in Catalytic Converter Theft Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A superseding indictment has been unsealed today, charging six additional individuals to the case first brought in November 2022, with conspiracy to transport stolen catalytic converters from California to New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, thieves steal catalytic converters from vehicles for the precious metals the core contains, including palladium, platinum, and rhodium, some of which are more valuable per ounce than gold. The black-market price for certain catalytic converters from California can be above $1,000 each. Three California defendants and six New Jersey defendants were charged in the original indictment, including brothers Navin Khanna and Tinu Khanna of New Jersey. The Khanna brothers operated DG Auto and purchased stolen catalytic converters from California for over $38 million. After the Khanna brothers were arrested, their mother Anita Khanna, 63, of Holmdel, New Jersey; their father Nirmal Khanna, 73, of Holmdel, New Jersey; and their older brother Michael Khanna, 42, of Eatontown, New Jersey, continued DG Auto’s business of purchasing stolen catalytic converters.

The Khannas and other DG Auto employees sold the precious metal powders extracted from the stolen catalytic converters to employees at a New Jersey metal refinery, including Alfredo Mejia, 40, of Levittown, Pennsylvania, and Vishnu Chintaman, aka Vasheem, 54, of Levittown, Pennsylvania. These metal refinery employees knew they were receiving powder extracted from stolen catalytic converters. The metal refiner paid DG Auto over $621 Million. The Khannas used a third party, Ricky Vega, 39, of Hopewell, New Jersey, to broker the transactions between DG Auto and the metal refinery.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the IRS Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, the Sacramento Police Department, the Davis Police Department, the Auburn Police Department, the Livermore Police Department, and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Veronica M.A. Alegría of the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California and Trial Attorney Cesar Rivera-Giraud of the Justice Department’s Violent Crime and Racketeering Section are prosecuting the case.

The case was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. For more information about OCDETF, please visit

If convicted, the newly added defendants in the superseding indictment face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a fine up to $78 million. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 20, 2024

Financial Fraud