LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A 24-year-old Beverly Hills man was arrested Friday on suspicion of attempting to hire a hitman to kill a woman he briefly dated and who had repeatedly tried to end the relationship, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Scott Quinn Berkett was arrested without incident after being charged in a federal criminal complaint that alleges he sent thousands of dollars in bitcoin to arrange the murder and then wired another $1,000 to the supposed hitman who was actually an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to an affidavit, Berkett met the woman online last year. She then flew to Los Angeles to meet Berkett in person in late October. The woman, who described his behavior as "sexually aggressive," tried on several occasions to end the relationship following the trip, according to the affidavit.
In April, a family member of the victim called and sent text messages to Berkett's father phone after learning that he was continuing to contact the woman. On April 20, Berkett appeared to have responded by sending a text that read, "consider this matter closed."
However, according to the affidavit, Berkett then allegedly contacted a group on the dark web that advertised murder-for-hire services. The group, which law enforcement said it believed to be a scam, contacted a media outlet that in turn provided the information to the FBI.
Berkett allegedly submitted his order for the hit on April 28, writing: "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."
An undercover FBI agent, posing as a hitman, made contact with Berkett on Wednesday. Berkett then made the final $1,000 payment late Thursday afternoon, the affidavit said.
If convicted as charged, Berkett faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. He is expected to make his initial appearance in United States District Court May 25.
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