Georgia doctor James Wan is sentenced to more than 7 years in prison after offering dark web hitman $16K in BTC to kill his girlfriend
Georgia doctor James Wan is sentenced to more than seven years in prison after offering dark web hitman $16K in Bitcoin to kill his girlfriend before FBI foiled murder-for-hire plot
- Dr. James Wan was sentenced in the murder-for-hire plot on Tuesday
- The Georgia physician confessed to hiring a hitman to kill his girlfriend
- FBI thwarted the dark web plot and placed the victim under protection
Dr. James Wan, 54, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison on Thursday in Atlanta federal court, after pleading guilty in October to a murder-for-hire plot
Dr. James Wan, 54, was sentenced on Thursday in Atlanta federal court, after pleading guilty in October to one count of using a facility of interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire.
‘This defendant believed he could mask his homicidal intentions by using electronic means,’ said US Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan in a statement.
‘By using the dark web to conceal his search for someone to kill his girlfriend, Wan expected to evade detection, even going as far as using crypto currency to pay for the crime.’
Prosecutors say Wan, an internal medicine specialist from the Atlanta suburb of Duluth, transferred more than $16,000 in Bitcoin to a dark web marketplace in an attempt to pay for the proposed murder.
The girlfriend who was targeted for murder was not harmed, after the FBI discovered the plot in time and placed her in protective custody.
She is not named in court documents, but a person close to the case told DailyMail.com that she was in a long-term relationship with Wan. The couple lived together in Duluth and shared a young daughter.
Wan had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years. An attorney representing him in the case did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com on Thursday afternoon.
Prior to his arrest, Wan practiced at a Vein Clinics of America location in Lawrenceville, though he was fired after his arrest in May 2022, and state records show his medical license has now lapsed.
The clinic in September 2022 became affiliated with USA Vein Clinics, which told DailyMail.com that ‘Wan was never employed by any medical practice that was affiliated USA Vein Clinics during his employment.’
According to a transcript of court proceedings reviewed by DailyMail.com, prosecutors say the FBI first learned of the hitman plot through a private tipster who monitors posts on a dark web marketplace, and alerts authorities about solicitations for murder that seem credible and dangerous.
The court allowed the government to withhold the names of the tipster and the marketplace from public filings, in order to preserve them as a resource for future investigations.
Prosecutors say that April 18, 2022 Wan accessed the dark web marketplace from his cell phone and submitted an order to have a hitman murder his girlfriend, providing her name, address, Facebook account, license plate, and car description.
In the order, Wan stated: ‘Can take wallet phone and car. Shoot and go. Or take car.’
Wan then tried to transfer about $8,000 worth of Bitcoin to the dark web marketplace as a 50 percent down-payment on the hit — but the funds apparently went to the wrong crypto wallet and were lost.
In a chat with the marketplace administrator two days later, Wan learned of his mistake and wrote: ‘D**n. I guess I lost $8k. I’m sending $8k to escrow now.’
Wan sent another Bitcoin payment worth $8,000 to the marketplace, and the marketplace administrator confirmed receipt and asked him whether he wanted the murder done as an ‘accident or normal shooting.’
Prosecutors say that Wan responded: ‘accident is better.’
Then on April 29, 2022, Wan sent another $8,000 worth of Bitcoin to the dark web marketplace escrow account and posted a message to the forum asking for a status update on the hit.
‘How soon should work be done? I have submitted an Order and curious how quickly it should be carried out? Is there a way I can find out any progress? If there is anyone in my location?’ he wrote.
After the dollar value of Bitcoin dropped, Wan sent about $1,200 worth of the cryptocurrency to the escrow account on May 10, 2022 to keep it fully funded, according to court filings.
Altogether, the transfers in furtherance of the plot totaled more than $25,000.
Prosecutors say the FBI received a tip about the murder plot from a ‘news organization’ that was passively monitoring posts on the forum, but was not involved in operating the marketplace or communicating directly with Wan.
The FBI swooped into action, placing the girlfriend under protection and confronting Wan about the plot.
Prosecutors say the doctor admitted that he had ordered the hit, made the Bitcoin payments, and checked the status of the order daily on the dark web marketplace.
Records from Wan’s phone and his Bitcoin wallet corroborated his confession.
After speaking with FBI agents, Wan canceled the hit on the dark web marketplace.
‘Despite his cowardly concealment on the dark web, Wan’s cold hearted murderous plot was averted due to the exceptional work of our team,’ said Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley of FBI’s Atlanta field office.
‘He will now face the full consequences of the criminal justice system,’ she added. ‘This case shows that the FBI will not tolerate heinous acts of violence and will go to great lengths to protect our citizens.’