July 31, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

2008 Montana Avenue Murder Suspect Arrested:

Santa Monica Police Chief Tim Jackman spent his final day on the job on Friday, March 2, with a press conference at Virginia Avenue Park, not to announce his retirement, but instead to inform the public that a suspect has been arrested in connection with the 2008 murder of Alexander Merman.

Flanked on both sides by members of the Santa Monica Police Deptartment (SMPD), Mayor Richard Bloom, and other law enforcement officials, Jackman explained the arrest that involved not only a murder but also the unraveling of a financial fraud requiring the investigation to extend as far south as Orange County’s central coast.

The murder investigation uncovered an alleged debt of $250,000 owed to Merman by murder suspect Daniel Edward Becerril II, a financial advisor who owned AP Financial Group in Huntington Beach, Calif. Also discovered was an alleged conspiracy to defraud various investment accounts of another $300,000, which, according to SMPD, was “ultimately deposited into accounts belonging to Becerril and AP Financial.”

Becerril was arrested on March 1; the arrest was made in conjunction with the Huntington Beach Police Dept. and United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

“After nearly four years of investigating this case and the fraudulent activity surrounding the murder, Santa Monica Police Detectives have amassed evidence linking Becerril to Mr. Merman’s killing, which occurred shortly after he discovered Becerril’s theft of his money,” an SMPD press release stated.

Both law enforcement and city officials believe the crime may extend beyond Becerril alleged fraud and murder of Merman.

“I would encourage anyone who knows anything or has been victimized … to please step forward. Obviously this crime goes further than the murder,” Bloom stated. “We want to be sure the perpetrators are brought to justice and that every victim has his or her day in court.”

“This was a very involved and deep fraud,” Jackman added. “What we know now is huge. This ma just be the tip of the iceberg.”

That iceberg roots back to when SMPD detectives in his condominium at 520 Montana Avenue discovered Merman’s body on March 19, 2008. The Los Angeles Unified School District elementary school teacher was reportedly murdered after being stabbed several times.

During the ensuing police investigation, detectives looked into Merman’s finances and “located evidence of a conspiracy involving employees of AP Financial.”

The alleged “conspiracy” involved “an unrelated victim’s residence (that) was acquired by Becerril and his associates using fraudulent means” that was later “sold to a third party who later defaulted on the loan, resulting in the victim being evicted from her house and learning that her home had been stolen from her.”

According to the investigation, Becerril and his associates allegedly received the money from the third-party sale.

Becerril is currently being held without bail at the Santa Monica jail; according to SMPD, charges against Becerril include one murder count, six counts of grand theft, and “multiple counts of forgery and money laundering related to the approximately $700,000 in thefts.”

Also arrested was Becerril’s wife, Sandra Becerril; currently held on $830,000 bail, she reportedly faces multiple counts of forgery and grand theft.

SMPD officials maintained the investigation is still not complete, as “arrests of additional codefendants are currently being made.”

It was also announced that based upon various interviews and evidence uncovered during the investigation, “losses related to Daniel Becerril and AP Financial could potentially be in the millions of dollars.”

Anyone who believes they have additional information on the matter may contact Det. HeeSeok Ahn SMPD’s Criminal Investigations Division at 310-458-8941. Anonymous tips may be left with the WeTip hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (1-800-78-27463) or online at www.wetip.com.

in News
Related Posts

Library Director Patty Wong to Leave Santa Monica

July 30, 2021

July 30, 2021

Santa Monica Public Library (SMPL) Director Patty Wong announced recently that she will leave Santa Monica to take on the...

City Council Prioritizes Housing for Historically Displaced Households

July 28, 2021

July 28, 2021

At its meeting on July 13, Santa Monica City Council made changes to Santa Monica’s Affordable Housing Production Program and...

Homeless Man Charged with Hate Crime in Assault of Korean Woman in Santa Monica

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

Melvin Taylor faces charges in connection to July 23 incident By Sam Catanzaro Hate crime charges have been filed against...

Homeless Advocate Arrested Near Shelter on Suspicion of Dealing Drugs, Claims no Wrongdoing

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

65-year-old Garry Featherstone accused of selling meth, PCP By Sam Catanzaro A self-described homeless outreach advocate was recently arrested near...

Off Leash Dog Park And Picnic Area Coming To Downtown Santa Monica: Santa Monica Beat – July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Off Leash Dog Park And Picnic Area Coming To Downtown Santa...

Two Arrested for Main Street Bike Shop Burglary

July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021

Two suspects were arrested for the burglary of a Main Street bike store after the owner witnessed the crime via...

Council Selects Berkeley Deputy City Manager to Helm Santa Monica

July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021

David White to be Santa Monica’s next City Manager starting in October  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica City Council has...

Ocean Park Library Set to Reopen

July 20, 2021

July 20, 2021

New self-service hours begin July 28 By Sam Catanzaro The Santa Monica Public Library’s Ocean Park Branch is set to...

Police Tase Suspect Following Santa Monica Beach Stabbing

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

32-year-old man arrested Sunday evening on Santa Monica Beach, suffers head injuries in arrest By Sam Catanzaro As part of...

Santa Monica Beat: Santa Monica Beat – July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Serial Killer Arrested by SMPD Sentenced to Death * New Grants...

Santa Monica May Ban Lobbyists From Serving on Boards and Commissions

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

City Council instructs staff to draft ordinance to bar paid policy advocates from serving on board, commissions, task forces   By...

Water Near Santa Monica Pier Remains Questionable as Beach Closures Lifted Following Sewage Discharge

July 15, 2021

July 15, 2021

17 million gallons of raw sewage discharged from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant Sunday Night By Sam Catanzaro Beach closures have...

Edify TV: Local Cafe Supporting Foster Youths

July 14, 2021

July 14, 2021

La La Land Kind Cafe recently opened its first California location in Santa Monica, delivering not only unique coffee and...

Santa Monica Experiencing 9-1-1 Call Outage

July 13, 2021

July 13, 2021

Update: As of 3 p.m., 9-1-1 phone service in Santa Monica has been fully restored. Please call or text 9-1-1...