Dark Web, Bitcoin and murder-for-hire plot lands Virginia woman behind bars


(Photo courtesy: mgn online)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — A Dark Web murder for hire plot landed a Culpeper woman behind bars as she faces federal criminal charges, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ)

Court documents say that the woman — 25-year-old Annie Nicole Ritenour — placed an “order” for murder-for-hire services that was advertised on a website on the Dark Web.

The DOJ told WFXR News on Wednesday, Oct. 27 that Ritenour made an account and deposited approximately $3,200 in Bitcoin to hire a hitman to kill someone.

The court documents went on to state that Ritenour uploaded several photos of her target along with personal information, employment, information of that person’s vehicle, along with the best time and place to kill them.

“Upon learning of the murder-for-hire plot, the FBI moved quickly to ensure the safety of the intended victim and identified Ms. Ritenour as the person responsible for the threat,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Neil Mathison said. “The FBI reminds the public that making threats online or using the Dark Web to hire someone to harm another has serious consequences, and we will work with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office to hold criminals accountable.”

The DOJ says that Ritenour is facing one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence and one count of murder-for-hire. If Ritenour is found guilty, she reportedly could face up to 20 years in prison.

“This case highlights the need for more intense federal enforcement of the cyber security protocols of the Internet,” said United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh in Wednesday’s statement. “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia has made cybercrime a priority for this exact reason, and this murder-for-hire plot serves as an example of why we need to remain vigilant in the policing of those dark corners of the web where cybercrime thrives.”

This case remains under investigation by the FBI.

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