Some brazen burglaries have been targeting homes in upscale Los Angeles-area neighbourhoods by visiting open houses of properties on the market — with the realtor allegedly enlisting an accomplice to rob the places he’s supposed to be selling.
According to Variety, numerous homes have been hit by similar robberies during open houses, including homes being sold by Adam Lambert, Usher, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Dorit Kemsley and former NFL linebacker Shaun Philips.
Beverly Hills realtor Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of “encouraging” an alleged accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter the homes he’s selling during open houses in order to steal valuables from those homes. Ackerman would then allegedly sell the items, using the cash to pay down the balance on Yaselli’s credit card.
Ackerman allegedly broke into 14 homes during a period ranging from December 2016 to August 2018, and is accused of making monthly payments on Yaselli’s credit card of between $5,566 and $20,000.
According to jail records, reports Variety, Yaselli was arrested Wednesday and is currently in custody on $1.7 million bail, with his arraignment set for Friday. Ackerman was arrested last Friday and is being held on $1.2 million bail; he has already pleaded not guilty.
Both men are facing 50 charges, including 32 counts of money laundering, 14 counts of burglary, and charges of conspiracy and identity theft.
Both face 50 charges, including 32 counts of money laundering, 14 counts of burglary, as well as charges of conspiracy and identity theft.
According to TMZ, each of the men is facing a maximum sentence of 31 years behind bars.
Ackerman is represented by Gary Jay Kaufman and Noam Reiffman of The Kaufman Law Group, and Elana Goldstein. Kaufman issued the following statement to ET Canada: “The District Attorney’s press release, by specifically naming Usher Raymond and Adam Lambert as alleged victims, only emphasizes what we have believed from day one, that this is a publicity driven prosecution. The People’s case is no better today than it was a year ago. Unlike a fine wine, this case does not get better with age. Mr. Ackerman is not just presumed to be innocent, he is in fact innocent.”
Kaufman added: “It is important to note that Mr. Ackerman was previously arrested in September 2018. No charges were filed and he was released. On January 2, 2019, the Los Angeles Police Department held a highly publicized press conference where they announced that Mr. Ackerman was the ‘Hollywood Burglar.’ Again, no charges were filed.”
Kaufman also stated that “Mr. Ackerman was arrested last Friday, on the same alleged conduct and was promptly released on bail.”