Bitcoin Murder-for-Hire Plot Lands Jilted Lover 12 Years in Prison

Journalist:
Josiah Wilmoth @Y3llowb1ackbird
August 27, 2019

The most persistent myth about bitcoin is that the dominant cryptocurrency allows users to make anonymous transactions. That myth may have contributed to the downfall of Tina Jones, an Illinois woman who will now spend 12 years in jail for a murder-for-hire plot gone awry.

Illinois Nurse Pleads Guilty to Murder Plot

Earlier today, Jones, a 33-year-old nurse, pleaded guilty to hiring a hitman to murder the wife of her former lover. She admitted to paying a supposed assassin market – the Sicilian Hitman International Network – $12,000 in bitcoin over a series of three months.

According to CBS Chicago, Jones – a registered nurse – had struck up an illicit affair with a fellow employee at the Loyola University Medical Center. Both Jones and her lover were married, and Jones decided to murder the man’s wife after he broke off the relationship.

However, the dubiously-named Sicilian Hitman International Network turned out to be a scam, and the murder was never carried out.

Nevertheless, DuPage County prosecutors charged her with Attempted First Degree Murder, along with several other charges that were dropped when she agreed to plead guilty to the Class X felony.

“This type of pre-meditated criminal scheming is an incredibly serious offense that warrants a serious punishment, as the defendant learned today,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin said in a statement. “Thankfully, Jones’ plot to kill a woman she saw as an obstacle to her romantic pursuit never materialized and the victim was uninjured.”

Tina Jones Used Bitcoin to Try to Remain Anonymous

Bitcoin isn’t anonymous, but many people believe it is. | Source: Shutterstock

It’s not entirely clear what exposed her plot. Prosecutors said that local police initially received a tip from CBS show 48 Hours, which had been investigating dark web markets for an episode of the long-running true-crime series.

Jones, for her part, believed she had taken great pains to conceal her identity.

In addition to paying the fake assassin market in bitcoin – which she may have believed would preserve her anonymity – she used what State’s Attorney Robert Berlin referred to as a “dark web browser” (presumably Tor) to mask her IP address.

However, as CCN frequently reports, bitcoin is not inherently anonymous, and BTC transactions have even been used to unmask Tor users.

Last modified (UTC): August 27, 2019 19:02

Josiah Wilmoth @Y3llowb1ackbird

Josiah is the US Editor at CCN, where he focuses on financial markets. He has written over 2,000 articles since joining CCN in 2014. His work has also been featured on ZeroHedge, Yahoo Finance, and Investing.com. He lives in rural Virginia. Follow him on Twitter @y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.