NJ Man Attempted to Hire a Hitman on the Dark Web

~2 min read | Published on 2023-02-05, tagged ArrestedMurder-for-Hire using 378 words.

A New Jersey man pleaded guilty to attempting to hire a hitman on the dark web to murder a 14-year-old child.

A screenshot of the murder-for-hire site

According to court records, John Michael Musbach, 31, of New Jersey, paid $20,000 to a fraudulent murder-for-hire site on the darknet to have a child he had sexually exploited killed.
According to the criminal complaint, in the summer of 2015, Musbach exchanged sexually explicit photographs and videos with a 13-year-old victim via an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) website. The victim's parents found out and contacted the police.
The police arrested Musbach on March 31, 2016. On October 11, 2017, Musbach pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child by sexual contact. He was sentenced on February 9, 2018, to a two-year suspended sentence with parole supervision for life.
In 2019, an informant contacted HSI agents and provided private messages exchanged between the admin of a darknet murder-for-hire site and an individual using the moniker “agentisai.”
The messages revealed that in May 2016, agentisai contacted the administrator of the murder-for-hire website and asked if a 14-year-old was an acceptable target. On being told that the age was not a problem, agentisai deposited approximately 40 bitcoin to the site and placed an order for the hit on the 14-year-old.
When following up on the hit, the website’s admin asked agentisai to deposit an additional $5,000 for the hit to be assigned to a better hitman. Agentisai finally gave up and told the admin he wanted to cancel the hit and withdraw his 40 bitcoin. The admin then revealed that the website was fraudulent and threatened to share agentisai’s information with law enforcement. The admin asked agentisai to deposit an extra 22 bitcoin for his account on the site to be deleted.
The agents subpoenaed Coinbase for information on the bitcoin address that had deposited the 40 bitcoin to the murder-for-hire site. Information received from Coinbase revealed that the address was associated with an account registered to Musbach.
The investigators arrested Musbach on August 13, 2020. On February 2, 2023, Musbach pleaded guilty to one count of the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.
U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez scheduled Musbach's sentencing for June 13, 2023. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.