MyNewsLA photo by Clancy O'Dessky

A man who worked at Los Angeles International Airport for a cargo-handling company was sentenced Monday to 12 months behind bars for stealing gold bars that were part of an international shipment.

Marlon Moody, 39, of South Los Angeles, also was ordered to pay a $7,500 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Moody pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit theft of an interstate or foreign shipment.

Co-defendant Brian Benson, 36, also of South Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced in November to four months behind bars.

Both men worked for Alliance Ground International, a company that provided ground handling services at LAX. On the evening of April 22, 2020, a shipment of gold bars arrived at LAX on Singapore Airlines. A total of 2,000 gold bars, each weighing 2.2 pounds and each valued at $56,000, were being shipped from Australia to New York at the direction of a Canadian bank.

During a stopover at LAX, the gold was offloaded and secured, but an inventory that evening showed one box containing 25 gold bars was missing.

Moody found the missing box of gold bars near the Singapore Airlines cargo warehouse on the morning of April 23, 2020, placed the box on a belt loader and drove that vehicle to a nearby location, where he removed four of the bars, according to papers filed in Los Angeles federal court.

Soon after, Benson arrived to pick up Moody in a company van, where they exchanged text messages about the gold bars because other employees were in the van. The two defendants later left the airport and went to a nearby parking lot, where Moody gave Benson one of the four gold bars.

The lost box with the 21 remaining gold bars was discovered by other cargo handlers and authorities began an investigation that ultimately led to Moody and Benson.

Moody gave one gold bar to a relative on May 4, 2020 — and directed the family member to exchange the gold bar for a vehicle and/or money. Around that time, Moody buried the remaining two gold bars in his backyard.

The FBI recovered all four gold bars about two weeks after they went missing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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