Local News in Brief : 2 Postal Workers Indicted

Two former San Fernando Valley postal workers have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that they stole blank money orders and cashed them for more than $400,000 in what authorities are calling the largest such case in the history of the U.S. Post Office.

Abraham Rothman, 67, of Sherman Oaks and Gilbert Capaldo, 43, of Reseda, each were charged Tuesday with one count of conspiracy and four counts of selling and conveying government property without authority, said Assistant U.S Atty. Brian Hennigan.

The indictment alleges that Capaldo and Rothman cashed about 600 money orders, most of them in the amount of $700 between July, 1986, and July, 1987, Hennigan said.

Postal officials discovered that several books of blank money orders were missing, Gregory said. Suspecting employees might be involved, officials began surveillance and investigated some employees' financial transactions, he said. By identifying the missing money orders by numbers, authorities determined that they had been cashed and deposited into the accounts of Rothman and Capaldo, Gregory said.

Capaldo, a window clerk at the Sherman Oaks post office for 16 years, maintained that he was "conned" into cashing money orders presented to him by Rothman, who retired after 10 years of employment at the Van Nuys post office, according to Capaldo's attorney, Glen Fleetwood.

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