Darknet Hitman Hired by NJ Man

Estimated read time 2 min read

Just when we thought we had seen everything, cyber crime throws us another curveball. A Camden County man, John Michael Musbach, aged 34, has just been sentenced to a whopping 78 months in prison. Why? He used bitcoin to hire a hitman via the internet. Yes, you read that right.

A Darknet Deal: Murder-for-Hire

Here’s how it went down. In the summer of 2015, Musbach, then living in Atlantic County, New Jersey, sent explicit photos and videos to a 13-year-old New Yorker. When the kid’s parents found out, they contacted local law enforcement. Musbach was arrested in March 2016 on child pornography charges.

Fearing testimony from his victim, Musbach took a dark path. He decided to have the child killed. But how? He turned to the darknet, the internet’s lawless underbelly. From May 7 to May 20, 2016, Musbach communicated with the operator of a murder-for-hire site. His sick request: Could the site arrange to murder a 14-year-old? And would they accept bitcoin?

Bitcoin Payment and a Shocking Twist

After being told age wasn’t a problem, Musbach handed over approximately 40 bitcoin. That was worth about $20,000 back then. But when the site’s operator demanded an extra $5,000, Musbach tried to back out. He asked for his money back. Then, the site’s operator dropped a bombshell: The site was a scam. Even worse for Musbach, they threatened to reveal his identity to law enforcement.

Verdict: 78 Months and $30,000 Fine

Fast forward to today. U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez hit Musbach with a hefty sentence in the Camden federal court: 78 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $30,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger gave kudos to the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for their work on the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Diana Vondra Carrig represented the government in Camden.

Reza Rafati https://cyberwarzone.com

Reza Rafati, based in the Netherlands, is the founder of Cyberwarzone.com. An industry professional providing insightful commentary on infosec, cybercrime, cyberwar, and threat intelligence, Reza dedicates his work to bolster digital defenses and promote cyber awareness.

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