Georgia doctor pleads guilty to trying to hire hitman to kill his girlfriend on dark web

Dr. James Wan, a 54-year-old resident of Duluth, has pleaded guilty to a sinister murder-for-hire scheme orchestrated through the dark web.

Wan's malevolent plan to end the life of his girlfriend was recently disclosed by U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan, who emphasized how Wan had used the dark web to shroud his deadly intentions. Fortunately, the plot was intercepted before any harm could come to the intended victim.

Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, commended the exceptional work of their team in thwarting Wan's nefarious scheme. She affirmed that Wan would now face the full force of the criminal justice system, underscoring the FBI's commitment to protecting citizens and preventing heinous acts of violence.

The charges and key details of this chilling case, as presented by U.S. Attorney Buchanan, are as follows: On April 18, 2022, while residing in the Northern District of Georgia, Wan utilized a cellular telephone to access a dark web marketplace. He placed an order for a hitman to eliminate his girlfriend, providing explicit details such as the victim's name, address, Facebook account, license plate, and car description. His order included a chilling directive: "Can take wallet phone and car. Shoot and go. Or take car." To facilitate this gruesome contract, Wan electronically transferred an initial 50% down payment, valued at approximately $8,000 worth of Bitcoin, to the dark web marketplace.

Just two days later, Wan contacted the marketplace's administrator, claiming that the transferred Bitcoin did not appear in his escrow account on the site. When asked for the Bitcoin address used for the payment, Wan provided the address and a screenshot of the transaction. The administrator, however, noted that the address was not in their system. Wan's response was chilling: "Damn. I guess I lost $8k. I'm sending $8k to escrow now." He then sent an additional Bitcoin payment of roughly $8,000 to the marketplace, which was confirmed as correct. The administrator proceeded with Wan's hitman order and inquired whether he wanted it to look like an "accident or normal shooting." Wan responded, "accident is better."

Approximately a week later, on April 29, 2022, Wan transmitted another Bitcoin payment of about $8,000 to the dark web marketplace to ensure his escrow account contained the necessary funds. He even inquired about the timing and progress of the job on a dark web forum, seeking to ascertain if anyone in his location could provide updates.

On May 10, 2022, as the value of Bitcoin decreased, Wan made another payment of approximately $1,200 in Bitcoin to ensure his escrow account remained adequately funded.

Following the discovery of the threat to the victim's life, FBI agents promptly notified her, offered protection, and questioned Wan. He admitted to placing the order, making payments, and monitoring the order's status daily on the dark web marketplace. Records from Wan's cellphone and Bitcoin wallet corroborated his confession. After engaging with FBI agents, Wan ultimately canceled the murderous order on the dark web marketplace.

James Wan has pleaded guilty to one count of using a facility of interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2024, before U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May.

This case is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Bret R. Hobson prosecuting the case.