Bedford woman sentenced in Bitcoin murder-for-hire case

bit coin murder for hire plot

BEDFORD, Texas – A North Texas woman was sentenced to nine years in prison after using Bitcoin to pay for a murder.

Federal prosecutors said 58-year-old Michelle Murphy of Bedford used the dark web to find a hitman for her boyfriend’s lover.

“To my knowledge, it’s the first time this has happened in Texas, but it’s happened plenty of places all over the United States,” said former U.S. attorney Richard Roper.

Investigators learned she used an ATM to convert cash to cryptocurrency at least three times and transferred about $10,500 to the hitman’s Bitcoin wallet.

The person who accepted the money tipped off the Department of Homeland Security. 

“In August 2023, HSI received information from a source that an unknown suspect on the dark web sought to have intended victim […] murdered in exchange for money,” reads the criminal complaint.

The dark web is part of the internet that cannot be reached through traditional search engines.

HSI’s cyber crimes group went to work shining an investigative light in virtual dark places.

“They’re able to pick up the trail of these criminals trying to solicit to murder somebody,” said Roper.

Investigators were able to identify Murphy by following her digital footsteps.

Records reveal cryptocurrency ATMs were used three times by Murphy to convert cash to Bitcoin. 

She then used that Bitcoin to murder a woman who was in a romantic relationship with her boyfriend, according to the complaint.

Agents confronted Murphy with her boyfriend at DFW Airport.

She confessed to being upset about her boyfriend seeing another woman. She admitted to trying to hire someone to kill the woman, prosecutors said.

In September, Murphy pleaded guilty to one count of murder-for-hire.

Judge Mark Pittman sentenced her to nine years in federal prison and two years supervised probation on Thursday.

“The reality of it is law enforcement has been able to pivot over and pick up the trail of evidence of dealing with these types of crimes,” said Roper. 

The person who took Murphy’s money likely never intended to carry out the murder, prosecutors said.

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