A man from Tennessee attempted to hire someone to murder his wife, paying in Bitcoin. Fortunately, his plans have been ruined by the BBC, who promptly informed the authorities.
A Nefarious Crypto Plot
According to FBI Special Agent Clay Anderson, Nelson Replogle allegedly paid Bitcoin to someone in an effort to get rid of his wife. The recipient contact came from a murder-for-hire forum, buried in the more obscure corners of the Internet.
After finding a person allegedly willing to carry out the crime, things were set in motion. The hit on his wife Ann was supposed to be carried out while she was on her way to the veterinarian with their pet.
It is not known how staff members of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) learned of the plot, nonetheless they informed the authorities. The sheriff of Knoxville, TN in turn involved the FBI. Investigations quickly led from the crypto transaction, identified to have happened on Coinbase exchange, to Nelson Replogle – separate warnings have been sent to both him and his wife.
Crypto Transactions Not So Anonymous After All
Cryptocurrency transactions seem to have a degree of anonymity depending on the specific platforms and procedures used. Commercial exchange services require their customers to comply with KYC (Know-Your-Customer) regulation.
That might be the reason why the FBI managed to retrieve a lot of data related to the transaction, including name, photos and bank account of Mr Replogle, as well as a confirmation from the Internet Service Provider that the connection happened from his home.
On the contrary, the identity of the hitman remains a mystery at this stage – possibly due to using a personal wallet, disconnected to exchanges requiring KYC and detached from personally-identifiable information.
Criminal Activities Using Bitcoin
Stories like this one show once more that cryptocurrencies could be used for illegal activities, for example involving drugs or guns. Criminals however don’t seem to always know how blockchain technologies work.
It seems also worth mentioning that the portion of the crypto market used for such purposes is relatively quite small and has dropped significantly over the years.
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