A brazen Beverly Hills Realtor and his accomplice allegedly used open houses to steal from superstar singers Usher and Adam Lambert as well as “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Dorit Kemsley, prosecutors said.
The sticky-fingered suspects cased the high-end homes between December 2016 and August 2018 and stole more than $500,000 worth of jewelry, artwork and other “luxury items” from 14 residences, authorities said.
Realtor Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, and Benjamin Eitan Ackerman, 33, were each charged with 32 counts of money laundering, 12 counts of first-degree residential burglary and two counts of first-degree residential burglary with a person present, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
Yaselli is expected to be arraigned Friday with prosecutors asking for bail of at least $1.7 million
Ackerman pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations at his arraignment on Aug. 19, where his bail was set at $1.2 million. He’s due back in court Oct. 3.
The alleged scheme was used to raise cash to make payments on Yaselli’s credit card, prosecutors said.
Ackerman had a mind-blowing stash of fine art, diamond jewelry, luxury watches, designer handbags and collectible wines at his residence and a storage unit when detectives served search warrants back in September, police previously said.
The suspect would pose as either an interested buyer or a real estate broker wanting to show the property, Palka said.
Detectives caught Ackerman after learning in July 2018 that someone burglarized a multimillion-dollar home that was listed for sale. They received a lead on Ackerman and discovered he posed as a realtor and later as a home buyer several weeks before the burglary.
Investigators said Ackerman signed the open house ledger in several cases prior to the homes being burglarized using a variation of his name.
“In one instance, he was also a person who was inquiring into some rare artwork,” LAPD Detective Jared Timmons said.
“People didn’t challenge him when walked into their houses. They believed that he was a buyer. When he showed up, he was dressed to the nines. He acted the part. He was very slick,” Timmons said.
Investigators said they seized more than 2,000 items from Ackerman.
“We estimate the total worth in the millions of dollars,” Timmons said. “A lot of stuff still has to be verified…We have diamond necklaces. We have to see what type of diamonds they are. Whose they are and what the actual values are.”
He said some of the high-end pieces of artwork still have to be claimed and appraised to see if they were damaged by the suspect.
“The suspect has been known to change the numbers on the artwork,” he said. “He likes to change numbers and resell this artwork to others.”
Tribune Content Agency