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August 16, 2022Springfield, MO, United StatesFinancial Crimes

Final defendant pleads guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen catalytic converters across state lines following HSI, joint law enforcement partner investigation

Thousands of catalytic converters stolen as part of a multi-million-dollar business

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former Springfield woman pleaded guilty in federal court Aug. 16 to her role in a conspiracy to transport tens of thousands of stolen catalytic converters across state lines as part of a multi-million-dollar business, following a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), joint law enforcement partners investigation. Danielle Ice, 34, of Columbia, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to participating in a conspiracy to transport stolen property across state lines.

Ice is the last of seven defendants indicted in this case to plead guilty. Ice’s husband and co-defendant Leslie Ice, 37, as well as co-defendants Cody Ryder, 31, Enx Khoshaba, 29, and Eric Kaltenbach, 37, all of Springfield, and Evan Marshall, 24, and Camren Joseph Davis, 25, of Rogersville, have also pleaded guilty.

By pleading guilty, Danielle admitted that she and Leslie stole at least 50 catalytic converters and sold them directly to Marshall. Marshall paid Danielle and Leslie approximately $20,000 for stolen catalytic converters.

The Ice’s began stealing catalytic converters for Marshall in October 2020 and continued stealing catalytic converters and selling them to Marshall through at least March 2021. They photographed the victims’ catalytic converters while the catalytic converters were still attached to the victims’ vehicles and sent the photographs via SMS text message to Marshall. Marshall would then determine whether the victims’ catalytic converters were valuable. If Marshall responded that a catalytic converter was valuable, Leslie removed the victim’s catalytic converter by cutting it from the victim’s vehicle’s exhaust system using a battery-powered reciprocating saw. Leslie and Danielle then sold the stolen catalytic converter to Marshall.

Marshall provided Leslie with a list of vehicles, by year, make, and model, that had valuable catalytic converters so that he could target specific vehicles from which to steal catalytic converters.

Marshall also gave Danielle approximately $1,500 in cash in January 2021 so she could post Leslie’s bond in a state criminal case in which he was being detained. Marshall provided Leslie’s bond money so he would be released from custody and could continue to steal catalytic converters and sell them to Marshall.

Marshall admitted that he transported stolen catalytic converters, valued at $1 million or more, across state lines from December 2019 to October 2021. Marshall also admitted that he bought tens of thousands of stolen catalytic converters directly from his co-defendants and from other thieves and sold the stolen catalytic converters for a total of approximately $1 million.

Under federal statutes, Danielle is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shannon T. Kempf and Megan W. Chalifoux. It was investigated by HSI, the Springfield Police Department, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Christian County Sheriff’s Department, the Webster County Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri Department of Revenue, and the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat property theft in your community on Twitter @HSIKansasCity.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.