A woman has been sentenced to jail after using WhatsApp to pay an undercover FBI agent around £8,200 in Bitcoin to kill someone.
Jessica Leeann Sledge, 40, provided who she thought was a hitman with pictures of the person and pictures of several vehicles this person usually drove.
The information she provided included the license plate numbers, documents said.
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According to records, Sledge, of the town of Pelahatchie in Mississippi, pleaded guilty on February 7 to use of interstate commerce facilities in murder for hire.
On Monday, US District Judge Carlton Reeves sentenced her to the maximum of 10 years behind bars, and three years of supervised release.
She was also slapped with a $1,000 (£819) fine and $100 (£82) special assessment fee.
In mitigation, defence lawyer John M Colette said that his client was a first-time offender with “zero chance of recidivism.”
“SLEDGE made Bitcoin payments totalling approximately $10,000 (around £8,200) for the murder of Victim 1 on October 4, October 9, October 10, 2021, via internet transactions,” authorities said.
“Using information obtained from the internet contact, on October 22, 2021, an undercover law enforcement agent (‘UC’) contacted SLEDGE on her cellular telephone while impersonating a hitman SLEDGE thought she had contracted with via the internet.”
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Sledge and the undercover agent communicated through cell phone and WhatsApp, authorities said.
“During a series of recorded conversations, SLEDGE confirmed that she was paying for the murder of Victim 1,” authorities said.
On one day, October 26 last year, she alerted the 'hitman' to a gas station her target was headed to for breakfast.
“Physical surveillance confirmed that Victim 1 arrived at the gas station in the vehicle described by SLEDGE,” authorities said.
“A photograph was taken of Victim 1 at the gas station and forwarded to the UC. The UC sent the photograph to SLEDGE, who confirmed that the person in the photograph was the intended target.”
According to the DOJ, the “intended victim was ultimately unharmed” and Sledge “admitted to her role in the murder-for-hire plot”.
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