The most persistent myth about bitcoin is that the dominant cryptocurrency allows users to make anonymous transactions. That myth may have contributed to the downfall of Tina Jones, an Illinois woman who will now spend 12 years in jail for a murder-for-hire plot gone awry.
Illinois Nurse Pleads Guilty to Murder Plot
Earlier today, Jones, a 33-year-old nurse, pleaded guilty to hiring a hitman to murder the wife of her former lover. She admitted to paying a supposed assassin market – the Sicilian Hitman International Network – $12,000 in bitcoin over a series of three months.
According to CBS Chicago, Jones – a registered nurse – had struck up an illicit affair with a fellow employee at the Loyola University Medical Center. Both Jones and her lover were married, and Jones decided to murder the man’s wife after he broke off the relationship.
However, the dubiously-named Sicilian Hitman International Network turned out to be a scam, and the murder was never carried out.
DuPage State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Woodridge Chief of Police Brian Cunningham announced today that a former Des Plaines woman has entered a plea of guilty to contracting a “dark-web” company to murder the wife of a man with whom she had an affair. https://t.co/bHug9RdXBe pic.twitter.com/P0ky5iBknJ
— DuPage State’s Atty (@DuPageSAO) August 27, 2019
Nevertheless, DuPage County prosecutors charged her with Attempted First Degree Murder, along with several other charges that were dropped when she agreed to plead guilty to the Class X felony.
“This type of pre-meditated criminal scheming is an incredibly serious offense that warrants a serious punishment, as the defendant learned today,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin said in a statement. “Thankfully, Jones’ plot to kill a woman she saw as an obstacle to her romantic pursuit never materialized and the victim was uninjured.”
Tina Jones Used Bitcoin to Try to Remain Anonymous
It’s not entirely clear what exposed her plot. Prosecutors said that local police initially received a tip from CBS show 48 Hours, which had been investigating dark web markets for an episode of the long-running true-crime series.
Jones, for her part, believed she had taken great pains to conceal her identity.
In addition to paying the fake assassin market in bitcoin – which she may have believed would preserve her anonymity – she used what State’s Attorney Robert Berlin referred to as a “dark web browser” (presumably Tor) to mask her IP address.
However, as CCN frequently reports, bitcoin is not inherently anonymous, and BTC transactions have even been used to unmask Tor users.