- A Georgia-based doctor, James Wan has pleaded guilty to using Bitcoin to hire a hitman to kill his girlfriend.
- According to the Department of Justice, the FBI was able to track the doctor’s Bitcoin transactions and arrest him.
- The victim has been put under protective custody.
- Wan faces up to 10 years in jail, as well as a quarter million dollars in fines.
- Wan is set to be sentenced in January 2024.
A normal reaction to the story you are about to read is: “Why would someone corrupt the purpose of something so pure this way?”
This “something” is Bitcoin.
According to reports, this “someone” is the Georgia-based doctor, James Wan, who has pleaded guilty to not only hiring a hitman to kill his own girlfriend but also doing so on the dark web and offering to pay using Bitcoin.
Bitcoin: A Hitman’s Payment Option?
According to a recent press release by the US Department of Justice, a 54-year-old doctor from Georgia doctor has pleaded guilty to hiring a hitman on the dark web to kill his girlfriend, and using Bitcoin as a means of payment.
Bitcoin, in general, was created as a means of payment. Transactions using Bitcoin are supposed to be virtually untrackable, decentralized and out of the control of any one government or individuals.
Unfortunately, these attributes also make Bitcoin an attractive form of money to use for more common crimes like money laundering and fraud, as well as others like drug deals, and of course, murder.
According to the report from the U.S. Department of Justice, Wan began planning the murder as far back as April 2022.
The report says that Wan accessed a marketplace on the dark web, and simply placed in an ad for a hitman to do a job.
Wan was also said to have provided extensive details about his girlfriend, including her name, address, Facebook account, and even her vehicle description.
“Can take wallet phone and car. Shoot and go. Or take car.”
In his confession, Wan stated that he wanted the murder to look like a carjacking (or car theft) that went wrong.
Wan then proceeded to make a down payment of about $8,000 in Bitcoin for the job.
But this is where things got interesting.
Where It All Went Wrong
According to the Department of Justice, the initial $8,000 transaction went south, as Wan mistakenly sent the funds to the wrong wallet address.
The DoJ says that Wan messaged the administrator of the marketplace two days later, to complain that the sent Bitcoin had not shown in his escrow account.
The marketplace manager then requested the Bitcoin address where Wan had sent the money and confirmed that the doctor had indeed sent money to the wrong address.
However, he (Wan) was determined to see this happen and proceeded to send an additional $8,000 in Bitcoin about a week later, on April 29, 2022, to make sure the escrow account contained enough money for the contract to be completed.
“Damn. I guess I lost $8k. I’m sending $8k to escrow now.”
The administrator questioned Wan if he preferred an “accident or normal shooting”:
Wan responded, “Accident is better.”
Once the escrow account had the funds in it, Wan began asking questions in the marketplace’s forum about how far his order had gone.
Wan wanted to know how soon the job would be done and if there was any way to track the progress of his ad.
“How soon should work be done? I have submitted an Order and curious how quickly it should be carried out,“
Wan also asked if there was anyone in his location who could help him carry out the murder.
However, despite Wan’s payment and his impatience after, the carjacking or the murder was never carried out.
Before things went truly bad, FBI agents learned about the whole ploy and immediately alerted the victim of the threat to her life.
The FBI also put her under protective custody, arrested her ex-boyfriend, and questioned him.
Before long, Wan admitted that he had indeed gone on the dark web, placed an order for a hitman, made the payments, and checked the status of the order daily.
Justice And Punishment
In court, Wan has pleaded guilty to one count of using a facility of interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire.
And according to US law, the doctor faces up to 10 years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine on top of that.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2024, with the FBI still investigating the matter, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bret R. Hobson prosecuting the case.
So what are the lessons here?
- This case is a reminder that law enforcement is still able to track crimes committed, even on the dark web.
- Bitcoin may be a decentralized and almost untraceable form of money, but it is not truly anonymous.
Disclaimer: Voice of Crypto aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, but it will not be responsible for any missing facts or inaccurate information. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile financial assets, so research and make your own financial decisions.