Man Sentenced To Four Years in Prison For Santa Monica Art Theft

Darren Agee Merager broke into the Santa Monica home of bond trader Jeffrey Gundlach and stole art work, jewelry, wine and a Porsche.

Darren Agee Merager, was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday, after being convicted of stealing millions of dollars in artwork, jewelry, wine, and a Porsche from the Santa Monica home of prominent investment fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach in September 2013.

 The Los Angeles Times reports that Merager, 44, pleaded no contest to the burglary charge as part of a deal with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Without the deal he could have served more than nine years in prison due to previous felony convictions.

Merager was one of six people charged in the scheme. According to the Times, charges were dropped against Merager’s 69-year-old mother, but co-conspirators, Jay Nieto and Wilmer Cadiz each pleaded no contest to one count of receiving stolen property. They were each sentenced to three years probation.

The Times states, “A pair of brothers -- 30-year-old Wanis George Wahba and 27-year-old Ely George Wahba -- also pleaded no contest last year. Wanis Wahba pleaded no contest to receiving stolen property, as did Ely Wahba to a charge of accessory after the fact. They're scheduled to be sentenced March 20.” 

At the time of the theft, Gundlach offered a $1.7 million reward for the return of the valuable artwork.

Read the full story on the LA Times.


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