A Beverly Hills realtor and another man have been charged with burglarizing the homes of celebrities, mostly during open houses.
Realtor Jason Yaselli and Benjamin Eitan Ackerman face 50 felony counts, and could spend more than 31 years in state prison if convicted. Ackerman has pleaded not guilty.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a press release that musicians Adam Lambert and Usher are among the victims.
Two Beverly Hills men are facing the possibility of spending more than three decades behind bars after they were arrested on suspicion of burglarizing the homes of celebrities including Usher and Adam Lambert.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement on Thursday that Jason Yaselli, 32, and Benjamin Eitan Ackerman, 33, stole more than $500,000 in goods from Beverly Hills homes between 2016 and 2018.
The statement said most of the burglaries happened at open houses. According to the criminal complaint, Yaselli, a realtor, "encouraged Ackerman to steal luxury items from 14 homes, sell them and use the proceeds to make payments on Yaselli's credit card."
Among the victims who were targeted in the scheme were musicians Usher and Adam Lambert, "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Dorit Kemsley, and former NFL linebacker Shaun Phillips.
The two men were each charged with 32 counts of money laundering, 12 counts of residential burglary, two counts of burglary with a person present, two counts of identity theft, one count of conspiracy to commit burglary, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
If convicted, they face the possibility of more than 31 years in a state prison.
Ackerman was arrested on August 16. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has already posted $1.2 million in bail.
Yaselli was arrested on Wednesday, and has a hearing scheduled for Friday. Prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $1.73 million.
Ackerman's attorney, Gary Kaufman, released the following statement to KTLA:
"The District Attorney's press release, by specifically naming Usher Raymond and Adam Lambert as alleged victims, only emphasizes what we have believed from day one, that this is a publicity driven prosecution," Kaufman said. "The People's case is no better today than it was a year ago. Unlike a fine wine, this case does not get better with age. Mr. Ackerman is not just presumed to be innocent, he is in fact innocent."