PG isn’t certain exactly how this relates to writing, but suspects more than one book could result.
From The Times of London:
A British “vigilante hacker” says that a site on the dark web that offers hitmen for hire is a scam that has earned the Romanian behind it almost £5 million.
The website, which goes under various names including Chechen Mob, has been linked to the arrest of a deacon in Minnesota, a businessman in Singapore and a retired family doctor from Bournemouth.
After he was wrongly arrested on suspicion of running the deception Chris Monteiro, 35, found a “back door” to the site and stole data, some of which is believed to have been used by law enforcement agencies.
“Several hundred people have used the website seriously,” Mr Monteiro said yesterday. “That is to say, they provided a name and address or more. There have been at least half a dozen prosecutions in the last couple of years, possibly dozens. Scores of people have paid significant amounts of money on the site and should be considered dangerous criminals with lives at risk.”
Also using names including Russian Mafia and Cosa Nostra, the website has exploited people seeking to kill off a loved one or avenge a slight.
It offers hitmen and takes payment in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies then pushes up the fees until the user realises that they are being conned.
. . . .
Chechen Mob was at the centre of the case against David Crichton, a retired GP from Bournemouth who was acquitted this week of attempting to solicit murder. Dr Crichton had downloaded Tor, an encrypted browser that allows access to the dark web, and entered the details of his former financial adviser, whom he wrongly blamed for a loss of £300,000. However, he paid no money, made no attempt to arrange a murder and was found not guilty of trying to hire a hitman.
He was convicted of three charges of sending malicious communications and fined £6,000 at Winchester crown court and ordered to pay costs.
In the most serious case involving the scam, Stephen Allwine, a church elder from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, murdered his wife after he was duped into paying $6,000 to the fraudster, then known as Besa Mafia, a reference to the code of honour in Albanian gangs.
Allwine, 44, was a deacon in the United Church of God and had been having an affair with a woman he met via Ashley Madison, a dating website. He denied the murder but was jailed for life in February.
Link to the rest at The Times of London