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A Nevada woman who tried to pay a hitman on the dark web with Bitcoin to kill her ex-husband received a five-year prison sentence on Friday.
Kristy Lynn Felkins, 38, pleaded guilty in March to the use of “interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. She faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
In 2016, she sent 12 Bitcoin, then worth $5,000, to the administrator of a site on the Tor network called Besa Mafia, which claimed to offer murder-for-hire services. The Bitcoin she sent would be worth nearly $360,000 today, according to CoinGecko.
For four months in 2016, Felkins exchanged messages with the Besa Mafia website administrator. She provided specific information about how her ex-husband could be found, including his home address, vehicle, and what time he left for work, according to a criminal complaint filed in 2020.
Felkins’ wanted her ex-husband’s murder to look like an accident but didn’t agree to a $4,000 upcharge. After her payment was sent, the site’s administrator said a hitman was assigned and that her husband would be gone within a week.
However, no murder took place. Besa Mafia was a scam site, and Felkins was never refunded Bitcoin she sent to the website, which is no longer in operation, the DOJ said in a press release. The Justice Department did not disclose how it became aware of Felkins' actions.
At her sentencing on Friday, Felkins' ex-husband Gabriel Scott of North Carolina said he was “very, very surprised” when he learned of the failed plot to murder him, describing Felkins as “a wonderful mother,” per The Sacramento Bee.
The divorce had been “as amicable as you could expect,” Scott told U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley, who had summoned Scott for his opinion. Still, Scott believed Felkins deserved some sort of sentence.
Felkins told the Besa Mafia administrator in 2016 that she was in a position to benefit from her ex-husband’s death. “I stand to get his retirement, our house and possibly a large life insurance payout,” she said, according to the case’s complaint.
Yet on Friday, Felkins said she’s thankful the person in charge of Besa Mafia didn’t deliver on the agreement they had established.
“I’m very glad that no harm came to Gabe,” she said. “I do thank God every day that the person I talked to was a scam artist.”
A similar sting led to the arrest and imprisonment of a Mississippi woman last year, when she paid $10,000 in Bitcoin to a purported hitman who turned out to be a federal law enforcement agent.