The US Department of Justice sentenced the 40-year-old resident of Pelahatchie, Mississippi – Jessica Sledge – to the statutory maximum of 10 years in Federal Prison. In 2021, the woman hired a “hitman” and paid him $10,000 worth of bitcoin to murder her husband.
Additionally, the authorities jailed the citizens of Orange County – Jeremy McAlpine and Zachary Matar – for luring over 2,000 investors into a fraudulent crypto scheme. The former will spend 36 months behind bars, while the latter – 30 months.
In September 2021, American law enforcement agents received information that Jessica Sledge had hired a murderer via the Dark Web. A month later, she paid him $10,000 worth of bitcoin so he could kill her husband.
Aware of Sledge’s intentions, an undercover police officer contacted her, identifying himself as the “hitman” she appointed with the task. Following a series of recorded conversations, she confirmed the crypto transaction and its purpose.
In November 2021, Sledge agreed to meet the FBI agent she thought was the assassin, gave him an additional cash payment, and once again proved her murder plot.
As a result, the authorities had enough evidence to arrest her. According to a recent announcement, United States District Judge Carlton W. Reeves sentenced her to the statutory maximum of 120 months in jail. She will also have to pay a $1,000 fine, while law enforcement agents will strictly monitor her actions for a term of three years after she gets released.
Thanks to the accurate operation of the American authorities, the intended victim remained “ultimately unharmed.”
Jail Time for Crypto Scammers, too
The US Department of Justice sentenced two other individuals for crimes related to digital assets. In 2017, Jeremy McAlpine and Zachary Matar (both residents of Orange County, California) established Dropil Inc – a Belize-based company that provides cryptocurrency investment services. The firm also issued its own tokens – DROPs.
Over the years, the partners conned more than 2,000 investors to purchase the assets, promoting them as an appropriate investment strategy in numerous adverts. The tokens were said to “ensure privacy while also offering added value and exclusivity.” McAlpine and Matar further assured customers that DROPs could grant them annual returns of between 24% and 63% depending on their “risk profile.”
Needless to say, the assets were nowhere near close to a successful investment, and users lost their funds. According to the Department of Justice, McAlpine and Matar drained almost $1.9 million from 2,472 investors through the sale of approximately 629 million DROPs.
Prosecutors accused them of pocketing the sum for their benefits and causing “significant financial harm” to victims. As a result of the case, United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney sent McAlpine to spend the next three years in Federal Prison, while Matar will serve a reduced 30-month sentence.