Murder-for-profit scheme suspected in Santa Monica slaying
Santa Monica police will detail a complex murder-for-profit scheme when announcing the arrest of an Orange County financial consultant on Friday, law enforcement sources said.
Daniel Becerrill II of Huntington Beach will face multiple felony charges -– including homicide, forgery, money laundering and grand theft -– in the killing of Alexander Merman in 2008.
Merman, a 35-year-old artist and Russian immigrant, was found stabbed to death in his Montana Avenue apartment in 2008. The apartment manager found his body after his mother was unable to reach him by phone for several days.
Sources said police are seeking additional suspects who may have been involved in the scheme, but they would not elaborate. A news conference is scheduled for Friday morning.
Becerrill has also been the target of financial regulators. According to a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority filing last month, a client accused him of taking his daughter’s inheritance and, instead of investing it in mutual funds, placed the money in his own bank account. Becerrill was barred from the financial industry after an investigation.
Merman’s killing was one of two murders that, while unrelated, shocked the city four years ago. Days earlier a young aspiring actress had been killed three miles away on Centinela Avenue, and another woman was later charged in that killing.
-- Andrew Blankstein and Chris Megerian