Love, Bitcoin, and Murder-For-Hire in the Suburbs

This week attorneys for Tina Jones, a former Loyola Medical Center nurse, are expecting prosecutors to provide a plea deal between now and her next court date on March 22. Jones, 32, took the national spotlight last year when she was accused of solicitation of murder-for-hire and attempted murder. Prosecutors alleged she used a dark website to pay more than $11,000 in bitcoin to kill a former colleague’s spouse. According to the Chicago Tribune, she was having an affair with an anesthesiologist who had called off the relationship in 2017. Jones is said to have never met the intended victim.

The murder-for-hire company website was accessed using the Dark Web, which is concealed, restricted and only indexed by Dark Web Search Engines. Users cannot browse the Dark Web by traditional methods. They require a special browser like Tor, AKA The Onion Router to gain access. Tor is both a free software and an open network. It helps protect users against network surveillance and traffic analysis.

The Backstory

In April 2018 Jones, who at the time lived in Des Plaines, IL, was charged with four counts of solicitation of murder for hire, two counts of solicitation of murder and attempted first-degree murder. If found guilty she will not be eligible for probation and can face a maximum sentence of 40 years if she is convicted of the most serious offense.

The contract came to light after the CBS program “48 Hours” came across Jones’ request while researching for another story, and provided details to the local police. The Daily Herald reported that authorities were provided the specific instructions Jones gave to contract the hit.

”In her ‘kill order,’ officials said, Jones gave the hitman clear instructions to make sure her lover was unharmed and provided a schedule for when he would be at work and when the woman would be alone. She also said to make it look like an accident.” – Justin Kmitch, Daily Herald.

Jones’ case offers an example of how easy it is for everyday citizens to commit cyber-enabled crimes that pose very real threats to their targets. The bigger takeaway, though, is that the opacity of the dark web enables criminal activities that are both more sophisticated and lower-profile than Jones’s attempt; the dark web’s bad actors are typically more interested in insecure company information rather than a former lover’s spouse. Understanding your options to manage risks on the deep and dark web remains critical for both companies and the individuals that work within them. Explore cybersecurity options with Prescient.