BEVERLY HILLS—On Friday, May 21, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Scott Quinn Berkett, 24, of Beverly Hills has been arrested on a murder-for-hire charge that alleges he tried to hire a hitman to kill a woman he briefly dated and who had repeatedly tried to break off the relationship.
It is alleged that Berkett sent thousands of dollars in bitcoin to arrange the murder and then wired another $1,000 to the “hitman,” who was actually an undercover FBI agent.
Berkett met “Victim 1” online in 2020, and the woman flew to Los Angeles to meet Berkett in October. According to the affidavit, victim 1, who described Berkett’s behavior as “sexually aggressive,” tried on several occasions to break off the relationship following the trip in October.
It is further alleged that Berkett contacted a group on the dark web that advertised murder-for-hire services. The group then contacted a media outlet, which provided information to the FBI, including messages from Berkett and documentation of payments by Berkett, according to the affidavit. Law enforcement believes that this dark web group was a scam.
The media outlet provided “transaction information from an unnamed source on the Dark Web that showed that Bitcoin payments were made with an understanding that an unknown individual would murder Victim 1,” the affidavit states. “The information provided was specific about the identity and location of Victim 1, as well as social media accounts, nicknames, email, and a distinctive tattoo of Victim 1.”
Berkett allegedly submitted his order for the hit on April 28, writing to the dark web group: “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.” Berkett made Bitcoin payments totaling $13,000 between April 5 and May 5, according to the information provided to the FBI.
According to the affidavit, an undercover FBI agent, posing as a hitman, made contact with Berkett and sent a photo of Victim 1, which Berkett confirmed was the victim. During the discussions with the purported hitman, Berkett demanded a proof-of-death photo that would show Victim 1’s distinctive tattoo and the corpse.
Berkett made the final $1,000 payment on Thursday, May 20, the affidavit states.
Berkett would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison if convicted as charged.