BEVERLY HILLS—On Monday, June 7, Scott Berkett, 24, was denied bail pending his trial date after he was arrested and taken into custody on May 21 on charges of murder-for-hire.
During Berkett’s detention hearing conducted via Zoom, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian ruled in favor of the prosecution’s request to deny bail. The decision was based on Berkett posing a threat to the community and possibly fleeing the area.
He was charged on a federal criminal complaint for wiring $13,000 in bitcoin funds to arrange the murder of a woman who he had briefly dated. He met the woman online sometime last year, and she flew to Los Angeles to meet him in person in late October 2020. The woman referred to as “Victim 1” later described Berkett’s actions as “sexually aggressive” and tried multiple times to end the relationship following her trip to Los Angeles.
He allegedly contacted a group on the dark web that was advertising murder-for-hire services. The group contacted a media outlet which provided information to the FBI, including messages and documentation of payments from Berkett. The media outlet provided specific details about “Victim 1” given by Berkett, including her specific location, social media accounts, nicknames, emails, and even a distinctive tattoo the woman had.
It is recorded that Berkett allegedly put in the request for the murder on April 28, 2021 saying, “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 May 19. Berkett sent a picture of “Victim 1” and asked for a photo for proof of death afterward, according to the affidavit. He sent a final payment of $1,000 on May 20. He was arrested without incident after making contact with the alleged hitman.
He is scheduled for an arraignment on June 29, and if he is convicted as charged, he could potentially face up to 10 years in federal prison.