James Wan MD paid over $16,000 in Bitcoin for the job, which he requested be made to look like an “accident”, and checked the status of his “cowardly” plan every day on dark web forums.
Wan, 54, was arrested and confessed to the plot. On Tuesday he pleaded guilty to one count of using a facility of interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire.
Investigators from the FBI said Wan had shared the victim’s name, address, Facebook account, license plate, and car description on a dark web marketplace. “Can take wallet phone and car. Shoot and go. Or take car,” he wrote.
The marketplace administrator then stated that they were proceeding with Wan’s order for a hit and asked whether he wanted it done as an “accident or normal shooting.” Wan responded, “accident is better,” the DOJ said.
About a week later Wan enquired about the status of the hit. On a dark web forum, he wrote: “How soon should work be done? I have submitted an Order and curious how quickly it should be carried out? Is there a way I can find out any progress? If there is anyone in my location?”
He thereafter topped up his account with a further $1,200, after the value of Bitcoin dropped, to ensure his order could be carried out.
After learning about the threat to the victim’s life, FBI agents notified the victim, provided her protection, and questioned Wan.
He admitted that he had placed the order, made the payments and checked the status of the order daily on the dark web marketplace.
Records from Wan’s mobile phone, from which he had placed the order, and his Bitcoin wallet corroborated Wan’s confession. After speaking with FBI agents, Wan canceled the order on the dark web marketplace.
“Wan used the dark web to conceal his deadly plan,” said US Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Fortunately, his plot was discovered before anyone was killed or injured.”
Keri Farley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said: “Despite his cowardly concealment on the dark web, Wan’s cold-hearted murderous plot was averted due to the exceptional work of our team. He will now face the full consequences of the criminal justice system.
“This case shows that the FBI will not tolerate heinous acts of violence and will go to great lengths to protect our citizens.”
Wan is due to be sentenced on January 18 2024, before US District Court Judge Leigh Martin May. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bret R Hobson is prosecuting the case.