May 28, 2024


The US Department of Justice sentenced 40-year-old Pelahatchie, Mississippi resident Jessica Sledge to the statutory maximum of 10 years in Federal Prison. In 2021, the woman hired an “assassin” and paid him $10,000 worth of bitcoins to kill her husband.

In addition, authorities jailed Orange County citizens – Jeremy McAlpine and Zachary Matar – for defrauding over 2,000 investors in a fraudulent crypto scheme. The first will spend 36 months behind bars, while the second – 30 months.

Justice was served

In September 2021, American law enforcement agents received information that Jessica Sledge had hired an assassin via the Dark Web. A month later, she paid him $10,000 worth of bitcoins so he could kill her husband.

Aware of Sledge’s intentions, an undercover police officer contacted her, identifying himself as the “assassin” she assigned to the project. After a series of recorded conversations, he confirmed the crypto transaction and its purpose.

In November 2021, Sledge agreed to meet with the FBI agent she thought was the killer, gave him an additional cash payment, and once again proved her murder plan.

As a result, the authorities had enough evidence to arrest her. According to recent announcement, United States District Judge Carlton W. Reeves sentenced her to the statutory 120 months in prison. She will also have to pay a $1,000 fine, and law enforcement agents will strictly monitor her actions for three years after her release.

Thanks to the precise intervention of the American authorities, the intended victim remained “ultimately unharmed”.

Jail time for Crypto Scammers too

The US Department of Justice was convicted two others for crimes related to digital assets. In 2017, Jeremy McAlpine and Zachary Matar (both residents of Orange County, California) founded Dropil Inc – a Belize-based company that provides cryptocurrency investment services. The company also issued its own token – DROP.

Over the years, the partners enticed more than 2,000 investors to buy the assets, promoting them as a viable investment strategy in numerous advertisements. Tokens are said to “ensure privacy while offering added value and exclusivity.” McAlpine and Matar further assured clients 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 a successful investment and users lost their funds. According to the Department of Justice, McAlpine and Matar withdrew nearly $1.9 million from 2,472 investors through the sale of approximately 629 million DROPs.

Prosecutors accused them of pocketing the amount for their benefits and causing “significant financial harm” to the 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 sentence of 30 months.

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