Independence man sentenced for selling stolen catalytic converters, making millions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Independence, Missouri man, who made millions of dollars selling catalytic converters, many of which were stolen, was sentenced in federal court Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs sentenced James Spick, 58, to five years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Spick to surrender $4.4 million to the government, which represents a conservative estimate that 40% of the catalytic converters he bought and sold were stolen, according to the Department of Justice.

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Spick, the owner of J&J Recycling in Independence, pleaded guilty on July 12, 2023, to one count of conspiracy to transport stolen property across state lines.

Prosecutors said Spick sold the parts to companies in Missouri, Texas and Louisiana that would extract the metals.

Federal prosecutors said Spick made more than $11 million between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2021.

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According to court documents, Spick told investigators he sometimes spent $20,000 a day buying catalytic converters and profited about $1,000 a day after expenses. Because he dealt so much in cash, it’s not possible to know the amount of his net profit.

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