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A Michigan woman faces prison after trying to hire assassins through a fake website

By Faith Karimi, CNN

Wendy Wein wants her ex-husband dead.

In July 2020, a Michigan woman viewed a website, Rent-A-Hitman, promises to “handle your delicate situation” in a private and timely manner.

The site boasts nearly 18,000 field workers who can work anywhere in the United States. It features testimonials from satisfied customers, including one man who wrote that RentAHitman “handled my disgruntled employee issue immediately while I was on vacation in the city.”

So Wein filled out a form on the website, seeking advice on her problem.

“It is strange that your company is not on the deep web or the dark web,” she wrote in a message to a man she believes to be the site’s chief advisor, Guido Fanelli. CNN obtained a copy of the message. “I don’t want to go to jail,” she added. “Thanks for taking the time for me.”

That didn’t stop Wein from later offering to pay $5,000 to kill her husband.

But there’s a problem.

Guido Fanelli’s real name is Bob Innes, a California native who runs the website. Rent-A-Hitman’s “agent” never actually killed anyone. Instead, the site exists to defraud people who are looking for hired killers.

And Wein is now in prison – one of several Rent-A-Hitman “customers” who have been found guilty of using the website to solicit murder.

Website owner hands murder ‘client’ to police

What started as a website for an internet security business, happened to be turning into online bait for people looking to kill their enemies. Their service requests are routed to Innes, who turn over serious requests to law enforcement.

Innes, who lives in Fairfield, California, said he left red flags all over his site, hinting that it was a trap. For starters, the site openly suggests that it offers illegal services. Its fake testimonials include one from a woman who was “ready to hang out” after she caught her husband cheating with a babysitter.

Its 18,000 “field staff” are estimated number of law enforcement agencies nationwide. At the bottom of the site, a link to check if your credit card has been stolen will take the user to the FBI. Internet Crime Complaint Center.

And the site promises confidentiality under the “Hitman Information Privacy and Protection Act of 1964,” a nod to HIPAA, the Lifetime Health Insurance Provision and Accountability Act. It was approved in 1996 and protects patients’ medical information.

But some people still love it, filling out online forms with their real names, contact information, and details about the person they want to “deal with.”

Innes says more than 400 people have filled out service request forms on the site since it launched, including some who have expressed an interest in becoming snoopers and playboys. prank try to prank your friends. Of those, about 10% have become legal cases involving police, he said.

“I thought no one could be that stupid, and I was proven wrong,” said Innes, 54. “These people… whoever they are, they see HIPAA, they think it’s privacy. So they feel compelled to leave their real information behind – name, address, intended target is…”

He gave everyone 24 hours to cool off before he alerted the authorities

If a person fills out a form on its website and clearly seeks to kill someone, Innes will wait 24 hours before contacting the police.

“It’s like a respite, for you to recharge. I want to give people a chance to walk away,” he said. “After a day, I asked them two questions. Do you still require our services? Would you like to be connected to a field agent? ”

If they say yes to both, Innes will connect them to a law enforcement agency in their area, which will take over communications with the suspect. Innes never discussed a fee – he left it to the “field staff”.

“I was just playing matchmaking with the police,” he said. “I would rather be a witness of the state than a mastermind of the state.”

When Wein, the Michigan woman, confirmed 24 hours later that she still wanted to hire a killer, Innes passed her information on to the Michigan State Police. They sent a plainclothes state soldier to act as a murderer, meet her in the parking lot in South Rockwood, south of Detroit.

Police said Wein offered to pay $5,000 to the killer of her ex-husband and provide his home address, work place, and schedule. State police told CNN she gave the soldier a $200 stipend for travel expenses because her ex-husband lived in another state.

Wein was arrested and pleaded guilty last month on charges of soliciting murder and using a computer to commit crimes. Sgt said she faces nine years in prison following her sentencing, which is expected in January. Michael Peterson of the Michigan State Police, who led the case.

“What stood out the most in this case was the stupidity of the suspect… trying to hire a hitman from a website,” says Peterson.

The site’s first serious case involved a requested attack on 3 people

Innes said he never intended to trap the killers when he launched the site in 2005. He is trying to start an internet security business, focusing on web traffic and risk analysis. for small networks.

“” Hire” like hire us, “success” in website traffic and analytics,’ he said.

His internet security business was never successful, so he tried to sell the domain name. There wasn’t much interest from the buyer, so he forgot about it and let it lie dormant for years.

Then, one day in 2008, he checked the website’s inbox and was stunned.

“There are emails about ‘how much per visit?’ “Are you hiring a hit man?”,” Innes said. “Honestly, I didn’t know how to respond, so I closed my inbox and walked away for a few years.”

Two years later, another murder solicitation hit his mailbox.

“I got an email from a woman saying she needed three people murdered,” Innes said. “A few hours later, she sent a second email with the names and addresses of the people she wanted to kill.”

The woman told Innes that she was a British citizen living in Ontario, Canada, and that three people she wanted to kill had robbed her father’s inheritance.

Innes said he looked up some of the addresses she provided, and her information appeared to be checked.

“She wanted to be even. She’s not going to stop at zero,” he said. “I contacted a friend who is a sergeant and said, ‘I think this lady is serious, can we ask for a welfare check?’ The friend informed the Canadian authorities”.

The woman was arrested and spent several months in prison for soliciting murder before being deported to the UK, Innes said.

“It was my first case. I said, ‘This $9.20 site just prevented three murders. “It was the turning point for the site,” says Innes.

So he turned the site into what he calls “excessive parody,” complete with fake HIPAA claims and offering special discount packages for groups and seniors.

“Rent-A-Hitman is safe, secure and available right here on the World Wide Web”, the site promises to be “your point and click solution”.

Another man tries to use the website to kidnap a child

Innes’ website also led to a conviction that a Virginia man tried to hire someone to kill his ex-girlfriend and her parents in 2018.

The man, Devon Fauber, has an intellectual disability and told an officer posing as an assailant that he wanted to kill three relatives so he could take care of his ex-girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, according to a report in The News Leader of Staunton, Virginia.

“Make sure you kill them and don’t kill the baby,” Fauber wrote in his online request for a killer, Innes said. Fauber also demanded that the abducted child, along with her birth certificate, be brought from her home in Staunton, according to Innes.

Court records show Fauber was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2019 for soliciting first-degree murder.

Although such cases are public on his website, Innes said he still receives requests online from people wanting to hire an assassin. Several contacts from abroad, asked if he could arrange a hit in a particular country.

He never advertised the site, so he thought people could find it through online searches. Innes said his website analysis showed it was viewed in 160 countries.

“It’s completely unsettling,” he said.

Innes said he is now trying to educate people about online dangers and is calling for tougher laws for people convicted of using the internet to commit violent crimes.

“This is a work in progress, but if there are any legislators, internet safety groups or anyone else who might want to assist in this project, that would be greatly appreciated.” he said.

Meanwhile, he will continue to act as a matchmaker between the murderous clients and the police.

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https://kesq.com/news/national-world/cnn-national/2021/12/12/a-michigan-woman-faces-prison-after-trying-to-hire-an-assassin-through-a-fake-website/ A Michigan woman faces prison after trying to hire assassins through a fake website

DUSTIN JONES

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