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'Slick' Pair Found a Way to Rob Rich Celebrities: LAPD

Benjamin Ackerman and Jason Emil Yaselli could serve over 31 years each
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2019 2:45 PM CDT
Usher arrives at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
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(Newser) – If this story's true, "slick" is really the word. Police say a Beverly Hills man and a real estate agent conspired to steal from high-end homes—including celebrities Usher and Adam Lambert—and spent the money partly on credit-card debt, the Los Angeles Times reports. Benjamin Eitan Ackerman and Jason Emil Yaselli, both 32, have been hit with 50 charges after allegedly stealing over $500,000 in goods including liquor, jewelry, and artwork, and likely reselling it. Seems Yaselli, the real estate agent, convinced Ackerman to rob 14 homes and use the proceeds to drop between $5,000 and $20,000 monthly into Yaselli's credit-card account.

Cops say Ackerman signed into open-house ledgers and posed as a home buyer or real estate agent to gain access, per Variety. "When he showed up, he was dressed to the nines," says LAPD Det. Jared Timmons. "He acted the part. He was very slick." Investigators say home security cameras were tampered with or pulled from the walls during burglaries. The suspects face charges including money laundering, first-degree residential burglary, and identity theft—for which they could both serve over 31 years—and were released on bails totaling nearly $3 million. But they're pleading not guilty: "The people's case is no better today than it was a year ago," says Ackerman's attorney, referring to his client's initial 2018 arrest. "Unlike a fine wine, this case does not get better with age." (Read more burglary stories.)

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