The 31-year-old man paid $20,000 to a supposed murder-for-hire website on the dark web, which turned out to be a scam.
A resident of Haddonfield, New Jersey, John Michael Musbach pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez for hiring a hitman to murder a 14-year-old, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old exchanged sexually explicit photographs and videos with the then-13-year-old victim during the summer of 2015. After the victim’s parents found out about the inappropriate contact, they informed law enforcement, who identified Musbach in the case, the Department of Justice revealed.
Musbach intended to have the victim killed so that the victim would be unable to testify against him in the pending criminal case.
“Musbach asked if a 14-year-old was too young to target, and upon hearing that the age was not a problem, paid approximately 40 bitcoin (approximately $20,000 at the time) for the hit,” prosecutors said.
Upon making the payment, Musbach maintained contact with the administrator, inquiring about when the murder would take place. When the website manager attempted to charge him an additional $5,000 for carrying out the attack, Musbach decided to cancel the hit and asked for a refund.
The website’s administrator then admitted that the website was a scam and threatened to turn him over to law enforcement.
Musbach faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine “of the greater of $250,000, twice the gross profits to Musbach or twice the gross losses of the victim of his offence” for his attempts to have the teen murdered.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 13th, 2023.
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