Bitcoin ‘Murder for Hire’ Doctor Pleads Guilty

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  • A doctor accused of plotting to kill his girlfriend has pleaded guilty
  • James Wan attempted to hire a hitman via the dark web but was intercepted by the FBI before the act could occur
  • Wan, who made a downpayment in Bitcoin, faces up to a decade in prison

A doctor who is accused of paying a hitman to kill his girlfriend in Bitcoin has pleaded guilty to the charges. James Wan allegedly made a downpayment of $8,000 in bitcoin but was intercepted by FBI agents before he could go through with the act. Wan will be sentenced in January and can expect a prison stay of up to ten years, with his guilty plea likely reducing his prospective sentence.

Wan Wanted Girlfriend Murdered

On April 18, 2022, in the Northern District of Georgia, Wan accessed the dark web and initiated a plot to have his girlfriend murdered. He placed an order with chilling details, including her personal information, and even specified the manner in which he wanted his girlfriend executed. Wan made an initial payment of $8,000 in Bitcoin as a downpayment to the dark web marketplace for the hitman’s services.

However, complications arose when Wan’s first payment didn’t register in his escrow account on the platform. This prompted a conversation with the marketplace administrator, during which he provided the Bitcoin address and a transaction screenshot.

When the administrator couldn’t verify the address, Wan expressed frustration but ultimately sent an additional $8,000 in Bitcoin to the marketplace. Once the payment was confirmed, Wan chose the method of the hit, preferring an “accidental” scenario.

Doctor Death Sought Updates

To secure the completion of the order, Wan made subsequent Bitcoin payments, totaling around $1,200, inquiring about the progress of the hit. Fortunately, FBI agents learned of the threat to the victim’s life and took immediate action to protect her, confronting Wan as a result. Wan admitted to orchestrating the murder-for-hire plot, providing payments, and monitoring the dark web marketplace daily. Phone records and Bitcoin wallet data substantiated his confession.

Following his conversation with FBI agents, Wan canceled the order and pleaded guilty to using interstate commerce facilities for murder-for-hire. Sentencing is scheduled for January 18, 2024, where a prison sentence of up to a decade and a maximum $250,000 fine await.

The case is reminiscent of another case two years ago where a retired husband tried to arrange for a hitman to kill his wife with a payment going through Coinbase.