Airport cargo handler stole $224,000 in gold and buried some in CA backyard, feds say

Mike Groll/AP file

A former cargo handler was sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to stealing four gold bars from a shipment at an airport in California, prosecutors said.

Marlon Moody, of Los Angeles, was accused of stealing $224,00 in gold, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a release Monday, June 27.

Moody gave a fellow cargo handler and co-defendant, Brian Benson, one gold bar, a relative another and buried two gold bars in his backyard, according to prosecutors.

Both Moody and Benson, who were employed by Alliance Ground International at Los Angeles International Airport, pleaded guilty in July 2021 to “one count of conspiracy to commit theft of an interstate or foreign shipment.”

“As an AGI employee, defendant was entrusted with handling cargo shipments at LAX and granted access to certain sections of the airport. [Moody] squandered that trust by stealing from those who relied on him to handle their property,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum, according to the press release.

McClatchy News reached out to Moody’s lawyer and Alliance Ground International but did not receive comment by time of publication.

In a sentencing memo, Moody said he “is truly ashamed of what he has done and is making efforts to correct this misconduct.”

The bars were stolen from a shipment of 2,000 gold bars, each weighing one kilogram (2.2 pounds) and worth about $56,000, that arrived at LAX on Singapore Airlines on April 22, 2020, according to prosecutors. It was destined for a Canadian bank in New York.

Inventory on the evening of April 23, 2020 showed that one box of 25 gold bars was missing, the release said.

“Moody found the missing box of gold bars near the Singapore Airlines cargo warehouse,” the release said, and with the help of a forklift, he drove away with the box. Moody took four gold bars.

Other cargo handlers later found the missing box with 21 gold bars.

Moody gave one gold bar to Benson, and a second bar to a relative. He told the relative to “exchange the gold bar for a vehicle and/or money.” He buried the last two gold bars in his backyard.

Within two weeks of going missing, the FBI was able to collect all four gold bars, the release said.

Benson served a four-month prison sentence, the release said.

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