A 25-year-old man in the US has pleaded guilty to murder-for-hire charges after paying a group of hitmen thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin to kill a woman he harassed after she refused his sexual advances.
The unidentified woman had tried to break contact with Beverly Hills-based Scott Quinn Berkett several times after going on one date in October — she described his behavior as “sexually agressive.”
It appears Berkett didn’t take it well. He placed the hitman order in April of 2021 to a group operating on the darknet. He sent a total of $13,000 in bitcoin as payment for the murder.
“I’d like it to look like an accident, but robbery gone wrong may work better,” Berkett instructed. Only, exact methods were left up to the hitmen. At the end of the day, the Californian didn’t mind “so long as she is dead.”
“I’d also like for her phone to be retrieved and destroyed irreparably in the process,” he said.
However, Berkett’s plan fell apart. After receiving multiple rounds of Bitcoin funds, the supposed murder-for-hire group leaked his details to the media and didn’t go through with the hit.
According to authorities, his messages, username, and payment history were shared with the press and forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). In response, the FBI posed as a hitman and made contact with Berkett in early May of 2021.
An undercover agent confirmed the target’s identity and sent photos to Berkett for confirmation — the Californian asked the ‘hitman’ to send a photo of her tattoo to prove he’d carried out the kill.
Berkett was arrested on May 21, 2021.
Failed relationship spurred hiring of bitcoin hitman
Before failing to commit murder, Berkett was also struggling to date his victim.
Berkett first spoke to the unnamed woman online in 2020. Eventually, she flew to Los Angeles in late October that year to meet in person.
But Berkett failed to impress. The affidavit explained how she tried multiple times to end the relationship after the date in October. Berkett didn’t take the hint and carried on contacting her, to the extent that a family member of the woman attempted to reach Berkett’s father on the phone.
After several unanswered calls and texts, Berkett himself responded on April 20th. He told the victim’s family member to “consider this matter closed.” At that time, the Californian had already decided to resort to violence.
Berkett is due to be sentenced on September 12 and will likely face a maximum 10 years statutory prison sentence.