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US man imprisoned after paying bitcoin to eliminate child he molested

us-man-imprisoned-after-paying-bitcoin-to-eliminate-child-he-molested
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US man imprisoned after paying bitcoin to eliminate child he molested

A New Jersey resident, John Michael Musbach, has been sentenced to 78 months in prison following his attempt to hire a hitman via the dark web to assassinate a minor he had previously sexually exploited.

The objective of this heinous act was to prevent the 14-year-old victim from testifying against him. Musbach, 34, paid over $20,000 in bitcoin to a fraudulent murder-for-hire website on the dark web, intending to have the child murdered.

His actions were exposed in January 2019 when Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents in New Jersey received data detailing communications between the administrators of the dark web site and its users, who were seeking to hire hitmen.

In May 2016, a user under the pseudonym “agentisai” was found to be seeking the murder of a 14-year-old child. After confirming that a minor was an acceptable target and disclosing a budget of $20,000, agentisai transferred 40.64 bitcoin to the site and placed an order.

The site’s administrators informed agentisai that the hitman assigned to his order had been arrested for cocaine possession en route to executing the hit. They then requested an additional $5,000 in bitcoin to assign the order to a more reliable hitman.

However, after multiple unsuccessful attempts to withdraw his funds, agentisai requested a bitcoin refund. The site’s administrators then revealed the fraudulent nature of the site and claimed they had forwarded their users’ information to law enforcement.

Investigations by Coinbase revealed that the bitcoin address used by agentisai was registered to Musbach, who had also used the account to transfer the 40.64 bitcoin to the murder-for-hire site.

Musbach had initiated a sexual relationship with the intended victim in the summer of 2015, which involved the exchange of explicit videos and photos. The child’s parents discovered the abuse in September of the same year and reported it to the police.

Musbach was arrested in March 2016, and his electronic devices were seized. He pleaded guilty in October 2017 and received a two-year suspended sentence in February 2018. Further investigations in October 2019 revealed that Musbach had been researching ways to commit murder.

Musbach was arrested again in August 2020 and charged with knowingly and intentionally using a facility of interstate and foreign commerce with the intent to commit murder. He pleaded guilty to the charge in February 2023. In addition to his prison sentence, US District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez sentenced Musbach to three years of supervised release and imposed a fine of $30,000.