Beverly Hills man, 24, is arrested in murder plot after he ‘tried to hire undercover FBI agent as a hitman for $14,000 in bitcoin and cash to kill a woman he briefly dated’
- Scott Berkett, 24, charged with federal count of murder-for-hire for allegedly trying to hire hitman to kill a woman who broke up with him
- Victim said she met Berkett online last year and traveled to Los Angeles in October to meet him, but later said he was ‘sexually aggressive’
- After woman made repeated attempts to break up with Berkett, he allegedly contacted a group offering hitman services on dark web
- ‘I’d like it to look like an accident, but robbery gone wrong may work better. So long as she is dead,’ Berkett allegedly wrote in his hitman order
- Berkett allegedly paid $13,000 in bitcoin and $1,000 in cash to undercover FBI agent
- He demanded proof-of-death photo of the victim’s body and her distinctive tattoo, according to court documents
Scott Berkett, 24, has been charged with a federal count of murder-for-hire for allegedly trying to hire a hitman to kill a woman who broke up with him
A California man has been arrested on a federal murder-for-hire charge for allegedly paying an undercover FBI agent pretending to be a hitman $14,000 in bitcoin and cash to kill a woman he briefly dated who had repeatedly rejected him.
Scott Berkett, 24, from Beverly Hills, was taken into custody on Friday after being charged in a federal criminal complaint that alleges he attempted to arrange the murder through a group on the dark web.
According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, Berkett met the unnamed victim online last year, and the woman flew to Los Angeles to meet Berkett in person for the first time in late October.
The woman, who described Berkett’s behavior as ‘sexually aggressive,’ tried on multiple occasions to break off the relationship following the October trip, the affidavit states.
Berkett had allegedly continued texting the victim, until the woman’s concerned family member confronted the suspect’s father about it. The 24-year-old was said to have replied: ‘consider this matter closed.’
But according to a statement from the US Department of Justice, Berkett allegedly contacted a group on the dark web that advertised murder-for-hire services.
While law enforcement officials believe that this dark web group was a scam, the group contacted a media outlet, which provided information to the FBI, including messages from Berkett, who was using a screenname of ‘Ula77,’ along with proof of payments by Berkett, according to the affidavit.
The media outlet provided ‘transaction information from an unnamed source on the Dark Web that showed that Bitcoin payments were made with an understanding that an unknown individual would murder Victim 1,’ the affidavit states. ‘The information provided was specific about the identity and location of Victim 1, as well as social media accounts, nicknames, email, and a distinctive tattoo of Victim 1.’
Berkett allegedly submitted his order for the murder on April 28, writing to the dark web group: ‘I’d like it to look like an accident, but robbery gone wrong may work better. So long as she is dead. I’d also like for her phone to be retrieved and destroyed irreparably in the process.’
The information provided to the FBI indicated that Berkett made bitcoin payments totally $13,000 between April 5 and May 5.
The undercover FBI agent posing as a hitman made contact with Berkett last Wednesday and eventually sent a photo of the woman, which Berkett confirmed was the victim, according to the affidavit.
During the discussions with the bogus hitman, Berkett allegedly demanded a proof-of-death photo that would show the corpse and the woman’s tattoo.
Berkett made the final $1,000 payment via Western Union late Thursday afternoon, the affidavit states, leading to his arrest the next day.
Berkett was scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Tuesday. If convicted as charged, he would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.