Web of Deceit in Duluth: The Dark Plot of James Wan

Web of Deceit in Duluth: The Dark Plot of James Wan


A sinister plot unfolded in the heart of Georgia, where James Wan, a 54-year-old Duluth resident, was sentenced for orchestrating a chilling murder-for-hire scheme via the dark web. In a twist that reads like a crime thriller, Wan used the shadowy depths of the internet and cryptocurrency in a failed attempt to eliminate his girlfriend.

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan emphasized the devious nature of Wan’s actions, stating, “This defendant believed he could mask his homicidal intentions by using electronic means.” Buchanan’s words paint a picture of a man who thought he could cleverly navigate the digital underworld to commit a heinous crime.

Wan’s meticulous planning, as outlined in court, involved accessing a dark web marketplace from his cell phone on April 18, 2022. His order was specific and brutal: the murder of his girlfriend, complete with personal details like her address and car description. His method of payment? Approximately $8,000 worth of Bitcoin, in a misguided belief that digital currency would cloak his criminal intent.

In his request, Wan stated: “Can take wallet phone and car. Shoot and go. Or take car.” Wan then electronically transferred a 50 percent downpayment of approximately $8,000 worth of Bitcoin to the dark web marketplace.

The administrator stated that they were proceeding with Wan’s order for a hit and asked whether Wan wanted it done as an “accident or normal shooting.” Wan responded, “accident is better.”

Shortly thereafter, Wan posted the following in a forum on the dark web marketplace: “How soon should work be done?  I have submitted an order and curious how quickly it should be carried out?  Is there a way I can find out any progress?  If there is anyone in my location?”

The case against Wan was built on his own confessions and corroborating evidence from his phone and Bitcoin transactions. Despite his attempt to cancel the order on the dark web marketplace, the evidence was overwhelming. On October 17, 2023, Wan’s fate was sealed as he pleaded guilty, leading to his sentence of over seven years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.

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