A medical doctor in Georgia, Dr. James Wan, has confessed to attempting to hire a hitman via the dark web, using Bitcoin as payment to eliminate his girlfriend. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia revealed that Dr. Wan sent a total of over $25,000 in Bitcoin to fulfil this sinister plan.
Dr. Wan initiated contact with the dark web marketplace on April 12, 2022, and placed an order for the murder of his girlfriend. He transferred an initial payment of $8,000 in BTC to an escrow wallet, providing detailed information about the victim, including her name, Facebook account, address, and car license plate, to facilitate the hitman’s task. Unfortunately, the initial 50% payment went to the wrong Bitcoin address.
To rectify his error, Dr. Wan sent an additional $8,000 in Bitcoin to the correct address. About a week later, he made another Bitcoin payment of $8,000 to complete the payment for the job, specifying that he wanted the murder to appear as an accident.
As time passed, Dr. Wan’s impatience became evident, as he inquired about the progress and timing of the job on a dark web forum. He even asked if there was anyone in his vicinity who could provide updates. His message read, “How soon should work be done? I have submitted an Order and curious how quickly it should be carried out? Is there a way I can find out any progress? If there is anyone in my location?”
On May 10, 2022, amid a drop in Bitcoin’s value, Dr. Wan sent an additional payment of approximately $1,200 in Bitcoin to ensure the escrow account contained the full required amount for the murder.
Fortunately, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) intercepted the plot, saving the intended victim’s life. Dr. Wan confessed to his dark web activities, including placing the order, making payments, and checking the order’s progress daily on the dark web marketplace. Evidence from his cellphone and Bitcoin wallet corroborated his admission.
Dr. Wan subsequently cancelled the murderous order on the dark web marketplace. He is set to be sentenced on January 18, 2024, before U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May.
Dr. James Wan’s case serves as a stark reminder of the potential risks associated with cryptocurrencies and the dark web. In an era where the internet provides anonymity and cryptocurrencies offer financial privacy, it’s a chilling reminder of the darker side of these technologies. While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have legitimate uses, they can also be exploited for criminal activities. The dedicated efforts of law enforcement agencies in thwarting such sinister schemes are commendable, yet this highlights the ongoing need for vigilance and regulation in the cryptocurrency space to prevent misuse. It underscores the necessity to strike a delicate balance between privacy and security in the ever-evolving digital age.