KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville man has signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in a murder for hire case where the FBI says he paid a hitman in Bitcoin to kill his wife.
Nelson Paul Replogle is facing murder for hire charges after the FBI says he made a payment to a hitman using the crypto-currency Bitcoin to kill his wife, Ann Replogle, in April. In the plea agreement, it states that the defendant is pleading guilty because the defendant is in fact guilty.
According to the plea agreement, in exchange for the would-be murder of his wife, Replogle paid out .2924549 Bitcoin (nearly $18,000 on April 15). The murder was supposed to play out as a “road rage or a carjacking gone wrong.”
The FBI was contacted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) about the information they received. on a threat to the life of Ann Replogle.
Knox County Sheriff’s Office was informed and then performed a welfare check on the Replogles. At the time the couple said they couldn’t think of anyone who would want to harm her. The BBC received more information about a date and time Ann was going to take her pet to a veterinarian’s office along with the make, model and color of her vehicle.
The FBI was able to link the Bitcoin account used to make the payment to the app Coinbase and then track it to the IP address from which it was sent. CoinBase records revealed a transaction from a personal savings account belonging to Replogle was used to pay the would-be killer.
He faces imprisonment of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $250,000, a period of supervised release of up to three years and a special assessment of $100.