A Sherman Oaks postal worker pleaded guilty Thursday to participating in a scheme in which blank money orders were stolen and cashed for more than $400,000.
Gilbert Capaldo, 43, was originally charged with 25 counts of theft of government property, one count of conspiracy and four counts of selling and conveying government property without authority, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Brian J. Hennigan.
But he pleaded guilty to five counts of theft of government property after a plea bargain with prosecutors, Hennigan said.
Authorities allege that Capaldo and another postal worker, Abraham Rothman, 67, of Sherman Oaks, cashed about 600 money orders--most of them for about $700 each--from July, 1986, through July, 1987, Hennigan said.
Both men were arrested after postal officials noticed that several books of money orders were missing. Suspecting that employees might be stealing them, the officials began watching those who routinely handled them, Hennigan said.
Capaldo is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9. He faces a maximum of 50 years in prison and a fine of $1.25 million, Hennigan said.
Rothman, who is charged with one count of conspiracy and four counts of selling and conveying government property without authority, has agreed to aid authorities in the investigation.