2 suspects in murder for hire case charged with wire fraud

Dec 21, 2022, 5:00 PM | Updated: Dec 22, 2022, 7:46 am
FILE — A Vermont State Trooper, center, speaks to a homeowner Thursday, Jan. 8, 2018, near an are...

FILE — A Vermont State Trooper, center, speaks to a homeowner Thursday, Jan. 8, 2018, near an area on Peacham Road, in Barnet, Vt., where the body of Gregory Davis was found. Two of the men charged in the murder for hire case that led to the 2018 killing of Davis are now facing federal wire fraud charges, court records show. Serhat Gumrukcu and Berk Eratay, are also charged with arranging for the kidnapping and murder of Gregory Davis. (Dana Gray/Caledonian-Record via AP, File)

(Dana Gray/Caledonian-Record via AP, File)

Two of the men charged in the murder for hire case that led to the 2018 killing of a Vermont man are now facing federal wire fraud charges, court records show.

Serhat Gumrukcu and Berk Eratay are due in appear in U.S. District Court by video next week to answer the charges contained in an updated indictment filed earlier this month by federal prosecutors.

The two men are also charged with arranging for the kidnapping and murder of Gregory Davis, who was taken from his Danville home on Jan. 6, 2018. His body was found the next day in a snowbank about 15 miles (24 kilometers) away. He had been shot to death.

Both Gumrukcu and Eratay have pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges. They are both being held without bail.

Prosecutors have alleged that Davis was killed because he was ready to go to the FBI to complain that Gumrukcu was failing to live up to his obligations in an oil trading deal.

Gumrukcu, 40, is a native of Turkey who immigrated to the United States in 2013 and became a permanent resident a year later. He was living in Los Angeles when he was arrested in May. Eratay, 36, who prosecutors say was working for Gumrukcu, is also Turkish, was living in Las Vegas when he was arrested.

Gumrukcu’s lawyer declined comment. Eratay’s lawyer did not return an email seeking comment.

A third suspect, Jerry Banks, 35, of Fort Garland, Colorado, is charged with kidnapping and killing Davis, but he was not charged with wire fraud.

The latest indictment outlines how prosecutors say that over several years Gumrucku and Davis, working through a middleman, were trying to arrange an oil trading deal that began in 2015. Later after Gumrukcu failed to live up to his financial obligations, Davis’ company Mode Commodities and a company controlled by Gumrukcu called Lauran Trading, agreed to pay Davis $5 million over time, the indictment says.

Among the fraudulent messages allegedly sent to Davis by Gumrukcu and Eratay, were messages that falsely represented that Lauran Trading had $30 million available for oil trading from a bank in the Persian Gulf.

In 2017, Gumrukcu was also putting together a different deal through which he obtained a significant ownership stake in Enochian Biosciences, a Los Angeles based biotechnology company. Prosecutors have said that if Davis would have complained to the FBI about Gumrukcu it could have jeopardized the biotechnology deal.

After Davis’ death investigators worked for more than four years to build a chain connecting the four suspects: Banks, who was friends with Aron Lee Ethridge, of Las Vegas, who was friends with Eratay, who worked for Gumrukcu.

Ethridge has since pleaded guilty.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of research at Google, speaks at the Google AI@ event on W...
Associated Press

Google has the next move as Microsoft embraces OpenAI buzz

Before the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT was unleashed into the world, the novelist Robin Sloan was testing a similar AI writing assistant built by researchers at Google.
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Group’s lawsuit seeks to void Washington transportation law

A conservative legal advocacy organization is suing to halt the nearly $17 billion transportation funding bill passed by the Washington Legislature and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee last year.
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Cops searching for 3 missing rappers find ‘multiple bodies’

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) — Authorities searching for three aspiring rappers who have been missing for nearly two weeks found “multiple bodies” Thursday at a vacant Detroit-area apartment building. State police cautioned that the identities of the bodies had not been confirmed. “Please remember all victims have families, and we don’t have the luxury of […]
20 hours ago
This photo provided by Adriana Medina shows Guillermo Medina and his wife, Adriana, with their chil...
Associated Press

Recording: Wife told police mentally ill husband had gun

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police in Culver City, California, released body camera footage Thursday showing events before officers shot an unarmed man diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in the back last year, including audio recordings of his estranged wife telling police he was armed and dangerous. In the footage, officers are seen chasing after Guillermo Medina […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

UN envoy: Iraq’s new leaders must keep fighting corruption

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Iraq urged the country’s new government Thursday to keep fighting corruption and move quickly on much-needed economic, fiscal and financial reforms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told the U.N. Security Council many other areas also need immediate government attention, among them ensuring human rights, resolving issues with the Kurdistan […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Voters wait in line outside a pavilion at Center Street Park shortly before the polling site...
Associated Press

Trump campaign staff on 2020 election lies: ‘fan the flame’

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A newly released audio recording offers a behind-the-scenes look at how former President Donald Trump’s campaign team in a pivotal battleground state knew they had been outflanked by Democrats in the 2020 presidential election. But even as they acknowledged defeat, they pivoted to allegations of widespread fraud that were ultimately debunked […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
2 suspects in murder for hire case charged with wire fraud