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A Buffalo man working for a security guard agency has pleaded guilty to cashing $4,100 worth of the more than $39,000 in checks stolen from the Erie County Social Services Department offices in the Rath County Office Building months ago.

Sam Barnes, 44, of Hayward Street, pleaded guilty before State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang to fourth-degree grand larceny. He also gave authorities the names of four alleged co-conspirators, including a former Social Services worker.

Prosecutors said an investigation is continuing into the four other suspects, including the Social Services worker who was fired several months ago. They would not name the other suspects.

Barnes remains free pending his Jan. 10 sentencing to a possible four-year state prison term. He declined to comment as he left court.

John C. Doscher, chief of the district attorney's White-Collar Crime Bureau, confirmed that the Delavan Check Cashing Service turned over to authorities photos of Barnes cashing a number of the stolen checks in April. The checks were made out to independent contractors who provided day care services for the Social Services Department, prosecutors said.

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