South Jersey Man Indicted for Attempting to Hire a Hitman to Murder a 14-year-old
A man from Camden County, who formerly lived in Galloway, who has been under investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for child pornography-related offenses was indicted Wednesday for allegedly paying $20,000 in bitcoin to have a 14-year-old victim murdered.
Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig says 31-year-old John Michael Musbach of Haddonfield was charged with one count of murder-for-hire and will be scheduled for an arraignment at a later date.
Honig's office says in the summer of 2015, Musbach began communicating via an internet chat website with his victim, who was 13-years-old at the time. Musbach began using those chats to request and receive sexually explicit videos and photographs of that child and to send to that child sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself.
In September of that year, authorities say the victim’s parents discovered the nature of Musbach’s chats with the victim and they notified police in New York, which is where they lived. Officers began investigating Musbach’s conduct and he was notified that he was under investigation and he was ordered to stay away from the victim. Upon identifying Musbach as a resident of Atlantic County, officials in New York got the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office involved.
In March, 2016, officers with the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office arrested Musbach on child porn charges and they executed a search warrant at his home in Galloway. Cops seized Musbach’s cell phone and his business. Musbach admitted to having sent sexually explicit images and videos of himself to the victim and requested and received sexually explicit images and videos from the victim, all while knowing that he was interacting with someone who was 13-years old, according to officials.
In October, 2017, Musbach pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child by sexual contact. He was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence with parole supervision for life.
In 2019, an informant began providing law enforcement with messages between Musbach and a murder-for-hire website, which operated on the dark web, which offered contract killings or other violent acts in exchange for cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin.
Honig's office says those messages revealed that in May, 2016, Musbach attempted to arrange a murder-for-hire through that website.
"He asked if a 14-year-old was too young to target, and upon hearing that the age was not a problem, paid approximately 40 bitcoin (approximately $20,000) for the hit. Musbach repeatedly messaged the website’s administrator following up on the hit and asking when it would occur. When pressed for an additional $5,000 to secure the hit, Musbach eventually sought to cancel and asked for a refund of his $20,000. The website’s administrator then revealed that the website was a scam and threatened to reveal Musbach’s information to law enforcement."
Agents were able to confirm Musbach’s identity on that website and they also traced the flow of money from his bank account to the purchase of bitcoin used to pay for the hit.
The charge of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.