A Camden County man who shared sexually explicit photos with a 14-year-old child online admitted to paying $20,000 in bitcoin to have the child killed, authorities said.
John Michael Musbach, 31, of Haddonfield, pleaded guilt to an indictment charging him with knowingly and intentionally using and causing another to use a facility of interstate and foreign commerce, that is the internet, with the intent that a murder be committed, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said.
In the summer of 2015, Musbach reportedly exchanged sexually explicit photographs and videos with the victim, a 13-year-old living in New York, over the internet, Sellinger said. The victim’s parents found out about the inappropriate contact and contacted the local police, according to Sellinger.
Upon identifying Musbach, then a resident of Atlantic County, NY law enforcement officers reached out to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office (ACPO). In March 2016, officers from the ACPO arrested Musbach on child pornography charges and executed a search warrant at his residence, then in Galloway.
Musbach decided to have the victim killed so that the victim could not testify against him in the pending criminal case, Sellinger said.
During the period from May 7, 2016, through May 20, 2016, Musbach repeatedly communicated with the administrator of a murder-for-hire website, which operated on the dark net, and which purported to offer contract killings or other acts of violence in return for payment in cryptocurrency, and arranged for a murder-for-hire, Sellinger said.
Musbach asked if a 14-year-old was too young to target, and upon hearing that the age was not a problem, paid approximately 40 bitcoin (approximately $20,000 at the time) for the hit, Sellinger said.
When pressed for an additional $5,000 to secure the hit, Musbach eventually sought to cancel and asked for a refund of his $20,000, the prosecutor said. The website’s administrator then revealed that the website was a scam and threatened to reveal Musbach’s information to law enforcement.
The charge of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000, twice the gross profits to Musbach or twice the gross losses to the victim of his offense.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 13.
Sellinger credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel in Newark and Special Agent in Charge Tracy Cormier in St. Paul, Minnesota, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for its assistance.
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