On Friday, May 12, Long Beach brothers Alan and Andrew Pawelsky, 28 and 25, were accused of taking part in trafficking catalytic converters on the black market, opening them and making millions of dollars from the precious metals inside, according to Nassau County District Attorney.
According to the charges against them, the scheme ran from June 2021 to December 2022.
The district attorney’s office alleges that the brothers paid middlemen cash to obtain large quantities of catalytic converters on the black market, stolen from states such as New York, Connecticut, Minnesota and even California.
According to prosecutors, the two men knew the items were stolen.
Once received, they use special equipment from Alan’s Island Park company Ace Auto Recycling to open the converter and recover platinum, palladium and rhodium – three precious metals – from the inside.
An ounce of gold is worth about $2,000, while rhodium is worth about $7,500 an ounce, making it one of the most valuable metals in the world, the DA said.
The company then sends the metal to a refinery where it is separated, weighed, and finally pays Ace Auto Recycling for the metal’s value.
Ace Auto reportedly received a total of $170 million from a refinery, which pulled more than $120 million in cash.
Some of the cash was used to buy more catalytic converters, the DA claims.
Jovanie Clarke, 29, of Flushing, Queens, is also indicted for selling the converters directly to Andrew, according to the district attorney’s office.
The Pawelsky brothers are accused of:
first level money laundering;
Secondary money laundering;
Second-level illegal possession of stolen goods;
Third-degree illegal possession of stolen goods;
Unlawful possession of stolen goods in the fourth degree; and
Level 4 conspiracy.
Both have pleaded not guilty and are expected to return to court on Thursday, June 1.
If convicted, each brother could face up to 25 years in prison.
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