LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A 24-year-old Beverly Hills man accused of making $13,000 in bitcoin payments to hire a supposed hitman to kill a woman he dated briefly was ordered held without bail Monday pending trial.
Scott Berkett, was charged with murder-for-hire for allegedly sending the cryptocurrency to arrange the killing and then wiring another $1,000 in cash to a supposed hitman, who was actually an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.READ MORE: LA City Council Presented With Motion To Suspend Ridley-Thomas
During the detention hearing, conducted via Zoom, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian granted the prosecution’s request to keep Berkett behind bars on the grounds that he could pose a threat to the safety of the community and might attempt to flee the district.
According to an affidavit, Berkett met the woman online last year. She then flew to Los Angeles to meet Berkett in person in late October. The woman, who described his behavior as “sexually aggressive,” tried on several occasions to end the relationship following the trip, according to the affidavit.
In April, a family member of the victim called and sent text messages to Berkett’s father phone after learning that he was continuing to contact the woman. On April 20, Berkett appeared to have responded by sending a text that read, “consider this matter closed.”READ MORE: Road Rage Suspect Taken Into Custody Following Pursuit
However, according to the affidavit, Berkett then allegedly contacted a group on the dark web that advertised murder-for-hire services. The group, which law enforcement said it believed to be a scam, contacted a media outlet that in turn provided the information to the FBI.
Berkett allegedly submitted his order for the hit on April 28, writing: “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 for her phone to be retrieved and destroyed irreparably in the process.”
An undercover FBI agent, posing as a hitman, then made contact with Berkett who allegedly demanded a proof-of-death photo that would show the corpse and a distinctive tattoo.
Berkett is scheduled to be arraigned June 29. If convicted as charged, he could face up to 10 years in federal prison.MORE NEWS: Ticketholders To Filipino Festival FAHMfest Find Empty Parking Lot In San Pedro
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