Another plot of a detective thriller was transferred to real life. In the United States, a man ordered a hitman for his wife, paying for his services with Bitcoins using the Coinbase crypto exchange.
A 59-year-old high school teacher from Tennessee was in the spotlight of FBI agents. On one of the sites created by hired killers, Nelson Replogle discovered an ad, after which he translated the potential killer Bitcoins and a detailed description of his wife's car, as well as the time interval in which she was going to take their pet to the vet.
The BBC notified the BBC about Replogle's insidious plans on April 20 of this year. Employees informed agents of a possible conspiracy to contract the murder of a woman from the Knoxville area. Later, the bureau learned that it was about Replogle's wife. When investigators visited the home of the teacher and his wife, they said they knew nothing about the potential threat.
After that, the FBI officers visited the BBC office. Its representatives passed on more specific information on the previously discovered conspiracy. It contained the details sent by Replogle to the killer. However, for the arrest, it was also necessary to obtain data from the Internet provider AT&T. The agents sent an appropriate subpoena to the court, which took into account the urgency of the case due to the "threat to human life", issuing an order to receive not only the history of transactions carried out by Replogle from his wallet but also his passport data and photographs. After which the agents in their hands appeared irrefutable proof of Nelson's guilt.
Replogle paid almost $18,000 in Bitcoins, according to the FBI. A little later, they tracked his transfers to their wallet on the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange. This was not difficult as the teacher recklessly linked the wallet to his bank account. The bank confirmed that Nelson used his savings account to purchase BTC through the exchange.
Former FBI counterterrorism director Javed Ali noted that such cases once again prove the difficulty of calculating cybercriminals in cases related to cryptocurrencies. The main obstacle for investigators, according to Ali, is almost always a detailed analysis of the payment chains in the Bitcoin network. Unfortunately, it was not possible to establish the identity of the killer. Agents attribute this to the fact that he did not use a commercial service like Coinbase, but used a personal wallet that does not contain personal information about its owner.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officers are sending more and more inquiries to Coinbase in order to investigate crimes. According to the exchange itself, the number of such requests has grown by 17% in six months, amounting to more than 4,000.