NJ man hired hitman for $20K in Bitcoin to kill a 14-year-old

NJ man hired hitman for $20K in Bitcoin to kill a 14-year-old

A New Jersey man who admitted to paying a hitman $20,000 in cryptocurrency to have a 14-year-old child murdered may face up to 10 years behind bars.

John Michael Musbach, 31, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with one count of “knowingly and intentionally using and causing another to use a facility of interstate and foreign commerce, that is the internet, with the intent that a murder be committed,” the Department of Justice said Thursday.

The Haddonfield man is accused of exchanging sexually explicit photographs and videos with the then-13-year-old victim during the summer of 2015. The victim lived in New York at the time.

After the victim’s parents learned of the “inappropriate contact,” they notified law enforcement, who identified Musbach in the case.

In March 2016, Musbach was arrested on child pornography charges, the DOJ said.

Prosecutors allege that Musbach decided to have the victim killed so that the victim could not testify against him in the pending criminal case.

Musbach repeatedly contacted the administrator of a murder-for-hire website on the dark web, which purported to offer contact killings or other acts of violence in exchange for cryptocurrency, from May 7, 2016, to May 20, 2016.

“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.

He paid about $20,000 worth of bitcoin while trying to hire a hitman to kill the 14-year-old victim.
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Following his payment, Musbach repeatedly messaged the website’s administrator to inquire about when the murder would occur. The administrator then requested an additional $5,000, which prompted Musbach to try and cancel the hit and get his $20,000 returned.

The website’s administrator then revealed to Musbach that the operation was a sham, and threatened to turn Musbach over to law enforcement.

Musbach faces a maximum potential 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 to the victim of his offense.”

He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 13.

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