May 25, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

2008 Montana Avenue Murder Suspect Sentenced To 15 Years Prison:

A Huntington Beach financial consultant was sentenced on Wednesday to 15 years in prison for murdering elementary school teacher Alexander Merman in his apartment in the 500 block of Montana Avenue in 2008 after Merman had uncovered a complex fraud scheme.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta also ordered Daniel Gilbert Becerril II of Huntington Beach to pay about $400,000 in restitution.

Becerril pleaded no contest to one count each of voluntary manslaughter and money laundering and five theft counts in the midst of his trial last week.

The defendant owned a company in Huntington Beach and orchestrated a complex theft and money-laundering scheme that defrauded Merman, a Russian-born Los Angeles elementary school teacher. A second individual was victimized through a real estate scam, prosecutors said.

Becerril stole about $315,000 in inherited annuity funds from Merman after the 35-year-old victim loaned the defendant $250,000 to prop up his ailing business, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Becerril then transferred the stolen funds among several bank accounts to hide the money.

On March 19, 2008, Merman was found stabbed to death inside his apartment in the 500 block of Montana Avenue. He died as a result of multiple stab wounds.

SMPD Sgt. Rudy Camarena said the case initially had no leads, but an intensive investigation by SMPD detectives led them to Becerril who owed Merman more than $550,000.

“The complex investigation revealed Becerril as the head of AP Financial Group in Orange County which was found to be involved in numerous cases of fraud and theft,” Camarena said. “The estimated losses to the victims were in the millions, mostly through pyramid schemes, retirement scams, and mortgage fraud.”

Merman and Becerril were friends and most of the money involved was loaned to Becerril by Merman to help him with his business, Camarena said.

“Becerril promised to pay Merman back but never did,” Camarena said. “When Merman demanded repayment he uncovered Becerril’s scheme. Merman was killed shortly thereafter.”

Camarena said evidence which led to Becerril’s arrest by SMPD Robbery/Homicide Detectives on March 1, 2012 was abstracted from volumes of financial, cellular phone, computer and internet records.

in News
Related Posts

John Adams Middle School Student Selected to Perform at Carnegie Hall

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

JAMS Student Grayson Fitzgerald named junior finalist for the 2022 middle school honors performance series at Carnegie Hall By Staff...

SMC Student Film “The War Within” Accepted into 2022 American Pavilion at Cannes

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Three Santa Monica College Films Will Screen at In-Person Festival, including 2021 Best Student Film Winner “Broken Layers” and 2020’s...

Santa Monica City Council Looks to Shorten Meetings

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Council to consider changes at Tuesday meeting By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers are considering taking steps to shorten City...

Landmark Theater Official Closes on Pico

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Pico Boulevard location closes Sunday By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Theater on Pico Boulevard in Westwood has officially closed.  The...

Road Closures Expected During Demolition Of Parking Structure Three: Santa Monica Beat – May 23rd, 2022

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Free Donuts At Randy’s Donuts For National Doughnut Day* Road Closures Expected...

Los Angeles Metro Sees 15.9 Percent Increase in Median Rent

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Median rent of $2,258, according to recent report By Dolores Quintana The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the issues of housing...

New Renderings for Frank Gehry Hotel Development in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Project would include hotel, apartments, retail and a museum By Dolores Quintana Slowly but surely, plans for a  Frank Gehry-designed...

Shared Mobility Plummets in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Recent report also shows that nearly half of riders make over $100,000 By Sam Catanzaro Shared mobility use in Santa...

Christopher Dishlip Selected as Santa Monica’s New Assistant Director of Public Works

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Public Works Director Rick Valte announced the selection of Christopher Dishlip as Santa Monica’s new Assistant Director of Public Works....

Letter to Editor: Response to Himmelrich’s “We Walk the Talk” Column

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

By Beau Marks As a Santa Monica resident, I am dismayed by Sue Himmelrich’s response (“We Walk the Talk,” Santa...

Motional And UberEats Launch Autonomous Deliveries In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

There Are Plans For Expansion Into The Rest Of Los Angeles Motional, a global driverless technology leader, and Uber Technologies...

Winston Pies Opening Third Location In Santa Monica

May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

The restaurant used to be known as ButterCrust Pies Winston Pies is staying in Santa Monica when opening their third...

Only 10 Vaquita Porpoises Survive, But The Species May Not Be Doomed

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

Hope remains for the porpoise species not only survive but thrive with human help. By Stuart Wolpert The vaquita porpoise,...

The American Cinematheque Brings “Bleak Week” To Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre And The Los Feliz Three Theatre

May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

33 Films From 18 Countries In One Week. By Dolores Quintana Sometimes when things are tough and you’re feeling down,...

Man Who Murdered His Family Members Pleads Guilty To Five Other Killings

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Escobar injured an additional seven other people as well.  By Dolores Quintana A man, Ramon Escobar, has pleaded guilty to...