CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — A Dark Web murder for hire plot lands a Culpeper woman behind bars facing federal criminal charges, according to the Department of Justice.
Court documents released say that the woman — 25-year-old Annie Nicole Ritenour — placed an “order” for murder-for-hire services that was advertised on a website on the Dark Web. WFXR News is told that Ritenour made an account and deposited approximately $3,200 in Bitcoin to hire a hitman to kill someone.
The court documents went on to state that Ritenour uploaded several photos of her target along with personal information, employment, information of that person’s vehicle, along with the best time and place to kill them.
“Upon learning of the murder-for-hire plot, the FBI moved quickly to ensure the safety of the intended victim and identified Ms. Ritenour as the person responsible for the threat,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Neil Mathison said. “The FBI reminds the public that making threats online or using the Dark Web to hire someone to harm another has serious consequences, and we will work with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office to hold criminals accountable.”
Ritenour is facing one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence and one count of murder-for-hire. The Department of Justice states that if Ritenour is found guilty, she could face up to 20 years in prison.
“This case highlights the need for more intense federal enforcement of the cyber security protocols of the Internet,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia has made cybercrime a priority for this exact reason, and this murder-for-hire plot serves as an example of why we need to remain vigilant in the policing of those dark corners of the web where cybercrime thrives.”
This case remains under investigation.