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A woman has pleaded guilty to federal charges of spending thousands in cryptocurrency to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband.
Kristy Lynn Felkins, 37, faces 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to the use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, according to the Department of Justice. Officials say Felkins used a defunct dark web internet platform known as “Besa Mafia” over several months in 2016 to plan the murder of her ex-husband, who was not named.
Felkins corresponded back and forth with an “administrator” from the dark web site, going as far as to give them the target’s precise locations at different times and loosely tracking his movements. For their services, Felkins paid 12 bitcoin (worth approximately $5,000 in 2016), which was not refunded to Felkins.
“[The website] is a now-defunct dark web site that purported to be a legitimate platform offering a variety of services, including murder, kidnapping and assault, in exchange for cryptocurrency payments,” stated federal authorities. “[The website] was actually a scam website that took users’ money but never carried out the offered services.”
Investigators from multiple federal agencies were part of the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy (NCIDE) task force, which investigated the case, including agents from Homeland Security, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Service,and the DEA. In 2019, task force investigators received information about someone with the moniker “KBGMKN” placing an order to have a man from Durham, North Carolina murdered, according to federal court records.
“KGBMKN” transpired to be Felkins, a mother of three from Fallon, Nevada, authorities learned. Before settling in Nevada, Felkins moved around several California towns. But, before moving out west, she'd lived in North Carolina with her then-husband.
Felkins requested that they stage her ex-husband’s murder as an accident and paid the website in March 2016.
“The sooner, the better… I won’t be around next week,” wrote Felkins after going back and forth with the website’s administrator. “I know it’s short notice, but I will be in the airport on Monday, so that’s the perfect alibi.”
Felkins initially suggested that the would-be killer(s) make the murder look like a “mugging gone wrong” and shoot the victim several times in the chest and head before fleeing the scene. She then changed her mind about staging it that way when she learned it would cost an additional $4,000, the criminal complaint stated.
The administrator tried taking even more money from Felkins by asking for another $4,000 for a sniper. The website procrastinated on the murder-for-hire several times.
The target was not harmed.
When asked why she wanted her ex-husband dead, Felkins claimed, “I do stand to get money from this, but that isn’t the reason behind my motivation.” Felkins described her ex as someone who was mentally, physically, sexually and emotionally abusive toward Felkins. She referred to him as “quite the snake and master manipulator” who wanted to take her children from her.
According to divorce records cited in the complaint, Felkins had two children with her intended victim and a third child from a different partner.
Felkins promised to pay the extra money for a sniper once she could collect from the insurance policy upon the victim’s death. She also offered a $2,000 bonus to the prospective hitman if he could get the job done before their children would be back in the target’s care, adding, “I can’t wait for this to be over.”
She also claimed to have “no problems” if the target’s new girlfriend was harmed in the process.
In early 2019, an individual “not acting on behalf of the government” revealed the conversations between Felkins and the scam artist who she believed had agreed to kill her ex-husband. The individual, known only in court records as CS-1, “scraped” messages from the bogus site and provided them to law enforcement, ultimately identifying the addresses of people who used bitcoin in exchange for violent crimes.
Authorities, who stated CS-1 lived in a foreign country and had been previously convicted of child pornography, said his intel was reliable.
Following the investigation, Felkins was indicted for the murder-for-hire plot on Sept. 24, according to U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott. She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16.
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