LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Beverly Hills resident Scott Berkett was arrested Friday and charged on a federal criminal complaint alleging he sent $13,000 in Bitcoin payments to hire a “hitman” to kill a woman he briefly dated.
On Monday, the 24-year-old was granted a detention hearing set for later this week.READ MORE: Woman, 30, Suffering From Depression Goes Missing In Canyon Country
The woman who Berkett allegedly wanted murdered is not named in court papers. But according to an affidavit filed in the case, she reportedly flew to Los Angeles to meet him in late October 2020. She described Berkett’s behavior in the affidavit as “sexually aggressive,” and following the trip tried on several occasions to break off the relationship.
In April, a family member of the woman contacted Berkett’s father and informed him that his son was continuing to contact the woman. According to court papers, Berkett appears to have responded on April 20, saying, “Consider the matter closed.”
Allegedly, Berkett then contacted a group on the dark web that advertises murder-for-hire services. Law enforcement believes the dark web group is set up to fleece people out of money. The dark web organization provided a media outlet with documentation of payments from Berkett, as well as messages from “ula77,” the screenname the 24-year-old used.
“The information provided was very specific about the identity and location of (the woman), as well as social media accounts, nicknames, email and a distinctive tattoo (on her body),” the affidavit notes.READ MORE: Person Struck And Killed By Amtrak Train In North Hollywood
In an April 28 message to the dark web group, Berkett is alleged to have written, “I’d like it to look like an accident, but robbery gone wrong may work better. So long as she is dead. I’d also like her phone to be retrieved and destroyed irreparably in the process.”
The media outlet then turned over the payment documentation and messages from Berkett to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to court papers, an FBI agent, posing as a hitman, made contact with Berkett on Wednesday, May 19, and sent the Beverly Hills man a photo of the woman. Berkett allegedly confirmed that the pictured woman was his would-be-victim and is also said to have demanded a proof-of-death photo showing the corpse and her distinctive tattoo.
If convicted of murder-for-hire, Berkett could face up to 10 years in prison.
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