The FBI linked a $17,800 Bitcoin purchase to the suspect's bank account and home internet connection.
An American man has been accused of attempting to get his wife murdered by paying a hitman in Bitcoin.
The FBI originally received a tip-off from the BBC, a British broadcaster, who said that Ann Replogle had been “named as a target for a murder for hire” — and would be targeted while she travelled to a vet appointment.
Agents then contacted her, as well as her husband, to make them aware of the threat.
Blockchain analysis showed that the hitman had been paid $17,800 in Bitcoin using wallets on the Coinbase exchange, prompting the FBI to dig deeper into the origins of those funds.
Connecting the Dots
Their investigation revealed the wallets belonged to Ann’s husband, Nelson Replogle — with the FBI also receiving the photos that he had submitted to confirm his identity.
From here, it was verified that Nelson Replogle had logged on to Coinbase using the AT&T connection installed at his home in Tennessee.
Worse still, his bank then confirmed that his personal savings account had been used to buy the Bitcoin that was transferred to the hitman.
One missing piece of the puzzle lies in how the FBI has been unable to unmask the identity of the person who received the Bitcoin. Because his wallet wasn’t based on an exchange, it can be much harder to find out who it belongs to.
Replogle, a 59-year-old retired teacher, has now been charged with one count of murder for hire. He is due to appear at a preliminary hearing on May 26.