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H.B. man suspected of 2008 killing

He is set to be arraigned on counts including fraud, theft and money laundering, in addition to stabbing.

March 07, 2012|By Mona Shadia
(Courtesy Santa…)

A Huntington Beach resident is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on multiple counts of fraud, theft, money laundering and the 2008 stabbing death of a Santa Monica man.

Daniel Edward Becerril II, 35, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing a financial investment client shortly after stealing about $550,000 from his investment accounts, said Santa Monica Police Sgt. Richard Lewis.

Police began investigating Becerril after discovering the body of Alexander Merman, who worked as a Los Angeles Unified School District elementary school teacher. Merman, 35, was found stabbed multiple times in his Santa Monica condo at 520 Montana Ave. on March 19, 2008, Lewis said.

Through the investigation, which took almost four years, police discovered that Merman was killed after learning that Becerril, who ran AP Financial Group in Huntington Beach, owed him the money, which he obtained through a family inheritance, Lewis said.

Police discovered $300,000 that was taken from Merman's account and deposited into AP Financial.

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Becerril is being held in lieu of $2.4 million in bail.

Police also arrested Becerril's wife, Sandra Becerril, 33, and his sister, Anaheim resident Rebekah Becerril, 25, on Friday on charges of multiple counts of forgery, money laundering and grand theft, Lewis said.

Abram Guajardo, 38, of Huntington Beach, was also arrested Friday and is charged with multiple counts of fraud, forgery and money laundering in connection to the case.

All except Daniel Becerril were arraigned Tuesday. They all pleaded not guilty and are each held in lieu of hundreds of thousands in bail.

But only Daniel Becerril has been charged in Merman's death, Lewis said.

Lewis said fraud related to Becerril and his company could amount to millions of dollars, and dozens of victims could potentially be involved.

Police are asking anyone who may have been a victim of fraud related to Becerril or his company to contact Santa Monica Police Robbery/Homicide Detective HeeSeok Ahn at (310) 458-8941.

mona.shadia@latimes.com

Twitter: @MonaShadia

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