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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Woman Charged With Using Hitman-for-Hire Website on Dark Web to Order Murder of Lover’s Wife

Woman Charged With Using Hitman-for-Hire Website on Dark Web to Order Murder of Lover’s Wife

Release Date: July 9, 2024

Defendant allegedly also discussed having targeted victim’s adult daughter killed

NEW YORK — A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York task force investigation resulted in the indictment of a Queens woman charged with murder for hire.

Yue Zhou, 42, of Flushing, was arrested June 5 in the Eastern District of Virginia and removed to the Eastern District of New York on July 3. She was scheduled to be arraigned July 8 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy.

HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace announced the charges.

“Yue Zhou is accused of offering cryptocurrency, cash and even sexual favors during her discussions related to having her then-partner’s spouse and adult daughter killed. Little did she know, the website she allegedly thought she was using to solicit a hitman was a farce, and the crimes of which she is accused soon caught up to her,” Arvelo said. “I commend HSI New York’s El Dorado Task Force Cyber Division, Customs and Border Protection, the New York Police Department and the Eastern District of New York for their unwavering commitment to utilizing their state-of-the-art methods to secure justice on behalf of New Yorkers.”

According to the investigation, between March 25, 2019, and April 4, 2019, Zhou sought to hire a hitman through a murder-for-hire website on the dark web to murder her then-romantic partner’s wife. Using an alias, Zhou placed an order to have the woman murdered. To pay for the murder, Zhou contracted with a Bitcoin exchange service in Ukraine to make a $5,000 payment in Bitcoin on her behalf. She provided approximately $5,000 in cash to a middleman in Brooklyn and then communicated with the website administrator to confirm payment. After sending payment, Zhou provided a detailed description of the woman and her home, her work schedule, and the best times to target her, so the woman’s husband would have an alibi for the murder.

Zhou later tried to use the website to secure the murder of her romantic partner’s adult daughter. In February 2021, she also sent a text message to the daughter’s neighbor, seeking to hire that neighbor to kill the daughter. Zhou offered the neighbor $10,000 and sexual favors in exchange for killing the daughter and disposing of her body in a lake. Zhou was not aware at the time of her scheme that the website was a scam operated by a third party and there was no actual hitman for hire.

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

“As alleged, the defendant took affirmative steps to hire a hit man to carry out the ruthless killing of the wife of her romantic partner,” said Peace. “Her depraved plan was only thwarted because the web site she used to set up the murder-for-hire was a scam. Although the scheme involved newer technologies like the internet and Bitcoin, the end result would have been age-old, cold-blooded murder.”

HSI New York leads and directs all operational and administrative activities of the El Dorado Task Force (EDTF). The EDTF is the premier money laundering task force in the nation and is comprised of more than 200 law enforcement personnel representing approximately 35 federal, state and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies. The EDTF encompasses a standalone Cyber Division as part of an effort to stay abreast of emerging criminal threats and in keeping with current and future investigative priorities. The mission of the EDTF is to disrupt, dismantle or render ineffective organizations involved in the laundering of proceeds of narcotics trafficking and other financial crimes. Since its inception in 1992, the task force has been responsible for the seizure of approximately $600 million and more than 2,100 arrests.

Last Updated: 07/10/2024
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