Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

O.C. Financial Consultant Gets 15 Years for Killing SM Teacher


An Orange County financial consultant was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for the killing of a Russian-born Los Angeles elementary school teacher who was defrauded out of several hundred thousand dollars in a complex money laundering scheme.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta also ordered Daniel Gilbert Becerril II of Huntington Beach to pay more than $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 Alexander Merman. 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.

Merman, 35, was stabbed to death in his apartment on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica in March 2008. His body was discovered by a building manager who had been asked by the victim's mother to check on him.

Becerril, who was arrested in March 2012, was linked to the killing through cell phone evidence and voluminous financial documents, according to the District Attorney's Office.


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