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Phony Realtor Arrested for Scheme to Steal From Celebrities

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. | Last updated on

Taking the "real" out of "realtor", Benjamin Eitan Ackerman allegedly posed as a high end Los Angeles real estate agent in order to plot robberies, and may have a multi-million dollar stash to show for it. According to police, Ackerman had a thing for showing up at open houses driving high-end luxury cars and wearing designer clothes, signing in as a realtor or potential buyer under an alias, and scoping the place. He would come back later, often times let in by the selling agent, and somehow disengage, or otherwise tamper with, the home's security system. He would allegedly rob the home of hundreds of thousands of dollars in art, jewelry, shoes, electronics, and oddly, a lot of fine wine.

Millions of Dollars in Property Stolen From Celebrities

According to police, Ackerman's scheme was brazen, sophisticated, and prolific. Estimated to be going on for over a year, they have uncovered multiple millions of dollars in stolen goods, thanks in large part to a victim that tipped police off to a storage unit containing Ackerman's cache. The loot is so expansive, over 2,000 items, that the police department has set up an online catalog to try to return all of the items to their rightly owners. To date, such big entertainment names as Usher, Jason Derulo and Adam Lambert have been labeled Ackerman's victims, and it is believed there are at least a dozen more. And it's possible Ackerman may be tied to other strings of unsolved celebrity robberies as well. Ackerman was arrested September 20th, but released four days later on $1 million four days later. He has yet to be formally charged.

Ackerman Likely Not Working Alone

Los Angeles police have not ruled out the possibility that Ackerman wasn't working alone. The amount of goods stolen and the various successful attempts of hacking security systems in a variety of different ways would be very hard to do alone. Sometimes the security cameras were merely ripped out. Other times, the footage simply went black during the burglary. The police said the department is "still looking into" what would have caused the footage to go dark. Given the breadth and depth of stolen goods, hopefully someone is formally charged soon.

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