A former Dunbar Armored employee pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges stemming from the theft of $300,000 in cash taken from the armored truck company’s storage facility in Vernon.
Eric Miranda, 38, of East Los Angeles entered his plea to conspiracy to commit bank theft and three counts of bank theft. He faces up to 35 years behind bars and a possible fine of $1 million at sentencing on July 10, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Axelrad.
Miranda, who was a coin supervisor at the plant, and a co-worker who worked as a teller conducted three money switches, using dummy bricks of bills that were switched out for genuine cash bricks in late 2017 and early 2018, court papers show.
Miranda created the phony stacks of $100,000 by taking hundreds of $1 bills and sandwiching them between $100 bills in order to make them appear to be bricks of hundreds totaling $100,000 each, prosecutors said.
Miranda then smuggled the dummy bricks into the Dunbar vault, where he and Monique Castruita, 35, of Maywood switched them for real stacks of $100,000. The two then marked the dummy stacks to ensure they were not placed into circulation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Finally, Miranda smuggled the real bricks of money out of the vault room on a cart by hiding them in postal boxes. The take totaled $300,000 in cash belonging to Capital One, Axelrad told the court.
Prosecutors wrote in court papers that photos found on Miranda’s cell phone depicted large sums of bundled cash and images of firearms.
Axelrad told U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee that the government would seek restitution at the time of sentencing.
Castruita previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bank theft charges and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24.
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