Double agent: Keller Williams broker charged in string of celebrity burglaries
The broker, Jason Emil Yaselli, and an accomplice allegedly stole more than $500K in property
This broker was a burglar, authorities say.
A Keller Williams agent and Beverly Hills resident was arrested for his role in a string of burglaries of celebrity homes, including those belonging to Usher and Adam Lambert.
Jason Emil Yaselli was charged Thursday with more than 50 counts related to the alleged burglary spree, in which the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said raked in more than $500,000 in stolen luxury merchandise.
The thefts took place between 2016 and 2018, and Yaselli faces 32 counts of money laundering, a dozen counts of first-degree residential burglary, and conspiracy charges.
The district attorney’s office said that Yaselli and his alleged accomplice, Benjamin Eitan Ackerman, stole the luxury items from 14 homes. The pair allegedly committed or planned the burglaries during open houses, the prosecutor’s office said.
In addition to Usher, the pair allegedly burglarized the homes of Adam Lambert, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” stars Paul and Dorit Kemsley, and former NFL player Shaun Phillips.
Earlier this summer, Lambert relisted a 3,800-square-foot home in the Hollywood HIlls that he purchased in 2014. He first put it on the market in mid-2017.
In L.A., thieves have targeted celebrities from their social media posts, using the information to determine when the person is away.
That was the case in 2017 and 2018, when a burglary ring involving more than a dozen people allegedly targeted and stole from two-dozen celebrities, before eventually getting caught and charged.
Agency CEO Mauricio Umansky and his wife Kyle Richards were among the victims. The thieves stole more than $1 million worth of goods from their home in 2017, while they were on vacation in Aspen, Colorado.
In the most recent case, Ackerman was arrested in connection with the burglaries last September, but wasn’t charged until earlier this month. He pleaded not guilty. Ackerman allegedly posed as a broker himself when he attended open houses to case homes or steal luxury items.
Ackerman would sell the stolen items and Yaselli used that money to pay off charges to his credit card, authorities said.
Yaselli and Ackerman each face a maximum of 31 years in prison if convicted on the top counts. The district attorney’s office plans to request bail for Yaselli at $1.73 million. A preliminary hearing for Ackerman’s case is scheduled in October.