According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Jessica Leeann Sledge of Pelahatchie, Mississippi, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday for allegedly trying to use Bitcoin to hire an assassin through a dark web website.
As per the United States Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Jermicha Fomby of the FBI’s Jackson Field Office, Sledge was given the statutory maximum of 120 months in prison for “using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire.”
According to the DOJ’s petition, Sledge delivered three payments via Whatsapp totaling $10,000 in Bitcoin on October 4, October 9, and October 10 of last year.
Sledge allegedly attempted to communicate with a killer available on the internet from September 2021 to November 2021.
Unknown to Sledge, the “contract killer” she was in touch with was a federal agent. Sledge was caught and confessed to her involvement in the murder-for-hire scheme after they met in Brandon, Mississippi, on November 1, 2021.
Sledge received a ten-year jail sentence, a $1,000 fine, and three years of supervised release in addition to her time behind bars.
“Sledge previously pled guilty and admitted that between September of 2021 and November 1, 2021, she used the internet, her cell phone and the “Whatsapp” application to arrange a murder-for-hire. Unknown to Sledge, the “hitman” she hired via the internet to commit the murder was in fact an FBI Special Agent. On November 1, 2021, Sledge met in Brandon, Mississippi, with the individual she thought was the assassin she had hired in order to provide an additional payment and to provide additional information concerning her intended victim”
Other Cases of use of Bitcoin for Hitman Services
Authorities continue to exploit Bitcoin’s involvement in criminal activity as a stick to support a ban on cryptocurrencies.
Nelson Replogle of Tennessee is accused of using Bitcoin from his Coinbase accounts to hire a contract killer to kill his wife last year. He located the hitman on a website that advertised murder for hire.
The FBI document claims that Replogle supplied the would-be assassin with Bitcoin, his wife’s automobile information, and the day and time she would take their pet to the doctor.
Through a summons to Replogle’s internet services provider, AT&T, the FBI was able to authenticate the connection originated from Replogle’s house after receiving the transaction information from Coinbase.
A warrant was then issued seeking his arrest. Replogle’s wife suffered no injury.
Apart from harming the environment, BTC is most antagonized for its use in illegal activities. However, these cases show that it is not easy to dodge the authorities even if BTC or any other crypto is used in illicit transactions.