Jason Emil Yaselli is a 32-year-old Beverly Hills real estate agent who was arrested August 22 after police said he encouraged his accomplice, Benjamin Eitan Ackerman, to burglarize 13 celebrity homes from 2016 to 2018.
Yaselli was the mastermind behind the scheme, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He is accused of telling Ackerman to pose as a realtor and a home buyer several weeks before the open house to gain trust before committing the crimes. In some cases, Ackerman also claimed to work for an investment firm.
“When he showed up, he was dressed to the nines,” LAPD Detective Jared Timmons said of Ackerman in January. “He acted the part. He was very slick.”
According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, “From December 2016 through August 2018, Yaselli allegedly encouraged Ackerman to steal luxury items from 14 homes”
Yaselli and Ackerman were charged with 32 counts of money laundering, 12 counts of residential burglary, two counts of burglary with a person present, two counts of identity theft, one count of conspiracy to commit burglary and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
If convicted, they face up to 31 years and 8 months in prison. The prosecutor in the case is recommending that the bail for Yaselli be set at $1.73 million.
Neither Yaselli nor his lawyer have made any public statements regarding the crime. He pleaded not guilty on Friday and his preliminary hearing has been set for October 3.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Victimes Included Several High Profile Celebrities, Police Say
The list of victims in the crime spree Yaselli is accused of being involved in is a “who’s who” of high profile celebrities. Yaselli and Ackerman stole items from the homes of pop singers Usher and Adam Lambert, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” stars Paul and Dorit Kemsley, and former NFL player Shaun Phillips among others.
And it wasn’t just celebrities, according to the LAPD “one of the victims turned out to be a family friend.”
When the police raided the home of Ackerman, they recovered over 2,000+ stolen items worth over $500,000 which included “jewelry, artwork, wine, clothing, and handbags.”
2.Jason Emil Yaselli Was Using the Profits from the Stolen Items to Pay off His Credit Card Debt, Police Say
According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office “From December 2016 through August 2018, Yaselli allegedly encouraged Ackerman to steal luxury items from 14 homes, sell them and use the proceeds to make payments on Yaselli’s credit card, according to the criminal complaint.”
The credit card in questions was the Keller Williams credit card Yaselli used for business expenses.
3. His Accomplice Was Accused of Burglarizing Homes Earlier This Year
According to KTLA5, Benjamin Ackerman was arrested on suspicion burglary in September, “but was ultimately released without charges four days later, Los Angeles County booking records show.”
After this latest arrest, Ackerman’s attorney, Gary Kaufman of the Kaufman Law Group, maintained his client’s innocence, “The District Attorney’s press release, by specifically name Usher Raymond and Adam Lambert as alleged victims, only emphasizes what we believed from day one, that this is a publicity-driven prosecution.” He told the media on August 22. “The People’s case is no better today than it was a year ago… Unlike a fine wine, this case does not get better with age. Mr. Ackerman is not just presumed to be innocent, he is, in fact, innocent.”
4. Yaselli Is Still Listed as an Agent on a Few Luxury Homes for Sale
Jason Yaselli is still listed as the real estate agents on a few high profile homes on the internet. The information is clearly outdated but it shows the type of clientele Yaselli was dealing with in his time as a real estate agent.
There are several more multi-million dollar homes where he’s still listed as the agent. According to some of the listings, he works closely with another Keller Williams agent, Spencer Payson, and is listed as co-agent on some of Payson’s homes. They are also listed in the Los Angeles Times as having an office together.
Spencer Payson works for Compass and specializes in the same high end Los Angeles real estate that Yaselli was selling. He has nothing to do with the crimes Yaselli and Ackerman were involved in.
5. Keller Williams Has Removed Him From Their Public Profiles
Following his arrest, real estate agency Keller Williams has erased Jason Yaselli from all of their public profiles and deleted his page from their website.
There are still some old posts that show the type of high-end real estate that Yaselli specialized in. In an Instagram post from September 2016 on the Keller Williams Beverly Hills account, the agency congratulated Yaselli on a recent sale
“Congratulations to Spencer Payson, Jason Yaselli and everyone involved for closing 1540 N. Curson Ave for $3,690,000!” Said the post “This incredible new modern 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom masterpiece is the most highly advanced electronics found in a home today. Water features can be enjoyed from all areas of the house along with a rooftop terrace that provides views of the Downtown Skyline and the Hollywood Hills…”
There’s also an old tweet wishing him Happy Birthday.
However, when you go to the link, the Facebook post has been removed. The company is most likely trying to distance themselves from Yaselli following his public arrest.