Beverly Hills man doesn’t dispute robbing celebrities’ homes
LOS ANGELES — A Beverly Hills man pleaded no contest Monday in a string of burglaries that included break-ins at the homes of singers Usher and Adam Lambert.
Benjamin Eitan Ackerman’s lawyer, Gary J. Kaufman, said his client “has accepted responsibility for what he did” and is “appealing and going to trial on charges of which he is acquitted,” referring to the three remaining burglary charges against 37 people. The accused is a year old.
Ackerman told Supreme Court Justice Mark S. Arnold said he understood the charges he pleaded to could carry a maximum of about 45 years behind bars and that he wanted to move forward with his plea to 11 counts of residential burglary and 28 counts of money laundering. and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, along with his plea to enhanced white collar crimes.
The burglary charges included a break-in at Lambert’s home on December 1, 2017, and again the next day, a burglary at Usher’s home on March 20, 2018, and a June 28, 2018, burglary at the reality TV personalities’ home. Paul and Dorit Kemsley. He is awaiting trial on three other burglary charges, including one related to the March 2017 home invasion of former professional football player Shawn Phillips.
Ackerman remains free on bond and subject to electronic monitoring while awaiting trial.
Jason Emil Yasili, who was charged with Ackerman in 2019, pleaded guilty at an earlier court hearing to one count of residential burglary and two counts of money laundering and admitted to a white-collar crime enhancement. Yasili, 36, is awaiting sentencing, but it was not immediately clear what punishment he might face.
“Ackerman will either pretend to be a buyer interested in purchasing the property or he will pretend to be a real estate broker who wants to view the property,” LAPD Capt. Corey Palka said at a January 2019 news conference announcing Ackerman’s arrest. “With the assistance of the LAPD’s Commercial Crimes Unit, Hollywood Detectives were able to identify 13 separate burglary victims based on evidence recovered from the safe or storage unit and Ackerman’s residence.”
Los Angeles Police Department’s Jared Timmons estimated at the time that the combined value of the items was “millions of dollars, several million dollars.”
Investigators determined that Ackerman signed up for open houses on several occasions and in one case asked about obtaining a rare work of art, the investigator said.
Ackerman showed up at open houses “fully clothed” and “acting the part” without being challenged to confirm his identity or where he worked, according to the investigator.
“He would tour open houses and come back later,” Timmons told reporters. “…This person is very sophisticated.”