Georgia – James Wan has been sentenced for paying a hitman he found on the dark web to murder his girlfriend.
James Wan failed to mask his intentions
“This defendant believed he could mask his homicidal intentions by using electronic means,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “By using the dark web to conceal his search for someone to kill his girlfriend, Wan expected to evade detection, even going as far as using crypto currency to pay for the crime. While criminals regularly search for new ways to harm their victims, our law enforcement partners constantly adapt their methods to identify them and bring them to justice.”
“Despite his cowardly concealment on the dark web, Wan’s cold hearted murderous plot was averted due to the exceptional work of our team. He will now face the full consequences of the criminal justice system,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This sentencing shows that the FBI will not tolerate heinous acts of violence and will go to great lengths to protect our citizens.”
U.S. Attorney Buchanan explained in court that on April 18, 2022, in the Northern District of Georgia, Wan used his phone to visit a website on the dark web. He ordered a hitman to kill his girlfriend, giving details like her name, address, Facebook, car plate, and car type. He suggested the hitman could take her wallet, phone, and car, and either shoot her or make it look like a car accident. Wan paid half the cost upfront, sending about $8,000 in Bitcoin to the site.
Wan sent another payment after the first one failed
Two days later, Wan contacted the site’s admin because he didn’t see the Bitcoin in his account on the site. The next day, the admin asked for the Bitcoin address he sent the money to. Wan gave the address and a screenshot of the payment. The admin said the address wasn’t in their system, and Wan realized he lost $8,000. He decided to send another $8,000 in Bitcoin to the correct escrow account.
After he sent the new payment, the admin confirmed it and proceeded with the order. The admin asked Wan if he wanted the hit to look like an accident or a normal shooting. Wan chose an accident.
About a week after his first payment, on April 29, 2022, James Wan sent $8,000 in Bitcoin to a the website on the dark web to make sure he had enough money in his account there to finish his order. Soon after, he asked on the site’s forum how quickly his order would be done, if there was any progress, and if anyone was near his location.
Then, on May 10, 2022, because the value of Bitcoin went down, Wan sent an additional $1,200 in Bitcoin to the same site, ensuring he still had enough money for his order.
The FBI found out that someone’s life was in danger because of this order. They protected the person and questioned Wan. Wan admitted he asked for the murder, paid for it, and checked the site every day for updates. His phone and Bitcoin account records proved what he said. After talking to the FBI, Wan stopped the order on the dark web.
Wan, 54 years old from Duluth, Georgia, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison. He will also have two years of supervised release after prison. He was found guilty on October 17, 2023, after admitting his guilt.