Santa Monica News
Six Charged In Multi-Million Dollar Theft
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Jan 4, 2013 - 5:27:15 PM
SANTA MONICA—Six people have been charged by Los Angeles County prosecutors in connection with the multimillion-dollar theft that occurred in bond trader Jeffrey Gundlach's Santa Monica home. The six defendants pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court to charges of burglary, conspiracy, receiving stolen property and being an accessory after the fact.
Jefffrey Gundlach. Photo courtesy of DoubleLine.com.
Reports indicated that 43-year-old Darren Agee Merager broke into Gundlach's home between September 12 and 13 where at least $3.2 million dollars worth of items were stolen such as wine, jewelery and paintings. Merager then came back to the scene of the crime in order to steal Gundlach's 2010 red Porsche Carrera under the order of 45-year-old Jeffrey Nieto. Nieto then helped hide the stolen art and other items at his car audio store.
Gundlach, CEO of DoubleLine Capital, offered a $1.7 million bounty for the return of the art collection which were taken while he was in New York on a business trip. All of the art has been recovered which included works from Jasper Johns, Piet Mondrian
and Richard Diebenkorn.
Within weeks, Pasadena police received a tip about the art being held at Al & Ed's Autosound on Rosemead Boulevard in East Pasadena. Investigators followed the tip and were able to recover most of the paintings. A second suspect, Wilmer Bolosan Cadiz, 40, was arrested at his home in Rosemead on suspicion of possessing stolen property. Authorities indicated that Cadiz was in possession of four paintings. The final painting was recovered at a residence in Glendale.
Cadiz has been charged with conspiracy and receiving stolen items. Co-conspirators that have also been charged are Merager's 68-year-old mother, Brenda Joyce Meager, as well as brothers 29 -year-old Wanis George Wahba and 26-year-old Ely George Wahba.
Prosecutors reported that the three suspects attempted to sell and hide the stolen items. Their arraignment is scheduled for Friday, January 18 at the Airport Courthouse and prosecutors will ask the bail be set at $10 million for each defendant. Merager has multiple prior convictions, therefore, could face more than nine years in state prison if convicted.
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