DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Daniel Becerril was sentenced to 15 years in state prison today for the 2008 killing of a Santa Monica man, according to Sgt. Rudy Camarena of the Santa Monica Police Department.
Becerril pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter, money laundering, and five counts of grand theft.
He was ordered to pay $442,000 in restitution including $315,000 to the family of the murder victim, Alexander Merman.
Merman, 35, was found dead, covered in stab wounds, in his apartment on the 500 block of Montana Avenue in March of 2008.
“The case initially had no leads, but an intensive investigation by SMPD detectives led them to Becerril who owed Merman over $550,000,” Camarena said in a release. “The complex investigation revealed Becerril as the head of AP Financial Group in Orange County which was found to be involved in numerous cases of fraud and theft.”
Victims were believed to have been bilked out of millions of dollars, mostly through pyramid schemes, mortgage fraud, and retirement scams.
“Merman and Becerril were friends and most of the money involved was loaned to Becerril by Merman to help him with his business,” Camarena said. “Becerril promised to pay Merman back but never did.”
Merman discovered Becerril’s scheme and was killed shortly thereafter.
Becerril, of Huntington Beach, was arrested in March of 2012 after evidence was taken from volumes of financial, cellular phone, computer and internet records.
For further information contact Det. Heeseok Ahn at 310-458-8452, Det. Dan Larios at 310-350-8937, or Sgt. Thomas McLaughlin at 310-458-8430.