Ronald Craig, a former neonatologist in Spokane, has received an eight-year prison sentence for hiring hitmen over the dark web to whom he sent over $60,000 in Bitcoin. The 56-year-old hired the hitmen to kidnap and assault several victims.

Former doctor gets 8-year prison sentence for paying $60,000 in BTC to hitmen

US District Judge William Fremming Nielsen has also ordered the individual to pay a restitution of over $25,000 and a $100,000 fine for his crimes. While issuing the sentence, Judge Nielsen said that the conduct portrayed by Craig was “really egregious and even evil,” given that the 56-year-old had a career as a doctor.

The court documents show that Craig used the dark web to send several messages in early 2021. In these messages, Craig plotted ways to harm his former professional colleague and kidnap his estranged wife. He later sent over $60,000 worth of Bitcoin to the hitmen to support his crimes.

Craig directed the hitmen to assault his former colleague, saying he would pay $2,000 worth of Bitcoin. He later added that he had a second job for the hitmen to kidnap his estranged wife and inject her with heroin to ensure their divorce was not finalized. Craig paid over $60,000 in Bitcoin for his estranged wife to be kidnapped.

The US Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, Vanessa R. Waldref, noted that “this case demonstrates how violent offenders exploit cyberspace and cryptocurrency to further their criminal agendas.”

Crypto-related cases before US courts

The US justice system seems to be getting more cases related to the cryptocurrency sector. While the cryptocurrency sector has been criticized for the lack of transparency, the public nature of blockchain transactions has made it easier for authorities to investigate and prosecute these cases.

Earlier this month, Nikhil Wahi, the brother of a former product manager at Coinbase, was convicted for ten months of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to prosecutors, Wahi’s conviction was the “first-ever cryptocurrency insider trading case.” Nikhil made $892,500 on the trades he executed using information obtained from his brother.

The judgment in US courts could also precede how similar cases will be determined. Celsius is among the crypto companies that filed for bankruptcy last year because of the effects of the bear market. In the bankruptcy proceedings, Judge Martin Glenn said that Celsius customers are not entitled to any funds because the terms of use said that deposits become Celsius’s property.

The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, filed a lawsuit against the founder of Celsius, Alex Mashinsky, accusing him of defrauding customers.

One of the most high-profile crypto cases before the US courts is the bankruptcy of FTX and the charges facing the former CEO of the exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried. The trial for Bankman-Fried has been slated for October. These cases could pave the way for a clear crypto regulatory framework in the United States.


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