Murder For Hire

From The Independent Of Santa Barbara:

Eugene Temkin, 50, not only apparently decided he wanted Michael Hershman — a Los Angeles-area resident to whom Temkin loaned money several years ago — dead, but had also come up with a variety of ways to do so, according to court documents.

…“Flat-out whacking them” was also on the table, Temkin said, though he preferred dropping Hershman into the sea 10 miles from shore, giving the victim a chance at survival because, Temkin, as a Jew, was not supposed to kill other Jews. “[Y]ou know, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” he allegedly said. “Well, I’m just making him stronger.”

…According to an FBI interview with Hershman, the two met more than 20 years ago when they both sold drugs in Los Angeles. Temkin at one time asked Hershman if he would help him hire a hit man to kill a tenant he was trying to evict. Temkin, according to Hershman, loaned him $500,000 to invest in a casino in Equatorial Guinea, Africa, but that the casino didn’t do well and he was unable to repay Temkin right away. Temkin had taken the money from a second mortgage on an apartment building he owned, and because he didn’t have the money to make the payments, eventually lost it to foreclosure.

Here’s the FBI press release:

LOS ANGELES—A federal grand jury returned an indictment this morning charging a Goleta man with soliciting the murder of his former business partner and others, announced Steven M. Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles; André Birotte Jr., United States Attorney in Los Angeles; and Leroy Baca, Sheriff of Los Angeles County.

Eugene Darryl Temkin, 50, of Goleta, California, was arrested at his residence on July 14, 2010, without incident. At that time, a criminal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles outlining the scheme by Temkin to hire a third party to murder his former business partner, the man’s wife, and the man’s business partner.

According to the criminal complaint, the investigation began in late 2009 when a source provided information to detectives indicating that Temkin planned to hire a professional killer to murder his former business partner. Over the following several months, undercover law enforcement personnel, posing as professional killers for hire, met with Temkin to discuss how the plot should be carried out. According to the complaint, Temkin wanted the victim forced to pay him $15 million to settle his portion of a failed business venture, and then wanted the victim, his wife and his business partner murdered. Throughout the undercover meetings, Temkin proposed various forms of murder and torture to be exacted on the victims by the undercover law enforcement officers, whom he believed were professional killers.

During the final undercover meeting, which occurred July 8 in Encino, California, Temkin paid the undercover agent the first installment of a $30,000 fee to carry out the murders. According to the plan agreed on by Temkin and the undercover agent, the murders were to be carried out in Spain, where Temkin believed the victims were vacationing, according to the complaint. Temkin provided to the undercover agent, photographs of the victims, as well as other identifying information. Temkin also gave the undercover agent the information he would need to deposit the $15 million into a bank account Temkin established in his name in Montevideo, Urguay.

The indictment charges Temkin with one count of soliciting a crime of violence, one count of attempting to interfere with interstate commerce by threats and violence, and one count of using interstate facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire.

Temkin is currently being held without bond at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, and is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on August 2, 2010.

If convicted on all counts, Temkin faces a statutory maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

This investigation was conducted by detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and agents with the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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