A bogus dark-web website offering hitman services had its information leaked by a hacker known by the name “bRpsd”. The data that was disclosed provide leads to the FBI on their investigation of a man who murdered his wife.
Stephen Carl Allwine, 47, of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, murdered his wife, in November 2016. Allwine tried to stage the murder as a suicide by placing a 9mm pistol next to Amy Allwine’s elbow. Although, the detectives were quick at gathering the electronic evidence- computers etc. and arriving at the conclusion that it was a murder. He was then arrested in late January and charged with second-degree murder based on the forensic interpretation of the evidence.
Hacker turns Hero
In May 2016, a hacker that goes by the name “bRpsd”, violated the database of a questionable website on the dark web, which supposedly offered hitman services.
The site, “Besa Mafia”, requires you to register on the site anonymously. It offers a link between customers and hitmen, where they can decide on a price for murder, ranging from $5000 to $200,000. Whereas, customers that just require having someone beat up or set their car on fire could hire contractors for $500 and $1000.
The data dump was uploaded by the hacker onto a public website which was consisting of user accounts, email addresses and messages between the admin and its clients, “hit” orders and a folder called “victims”, which included additional info on the pawn.
The scam nature of the site was emphasized on, pointing out that it clearly just collected money from its clients.
An independent researcher, Chris Monteiro, also hacked into the site to conclude that the owner(s) of Besa Mafia had made at least 50 bitcoins ($127,500) from the hoax operation.
Arrest of Stephen Carl Allwine
The leaked data from the Besa Mafia database helped the police in investigating the murder of Mrs. Allwine. While analyzing her husband’s devices, the discovered that he had been a frequent visitor of the dark web since 2014. The pseudonym used by Mr. Allwine on the dark web “dogdaygod”, was also linked to his email address, “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Further investigation brought them upon the conversation between Besa Mafia and Allwine, which included a bitcoin address and linked the husband directly to the “dogdaygod” pseudonym.
According to a criminal complaint, the suspect paid between $10,000 to $15,000 to the hitman service to kill his wife. The complaint explains how the hitman was under instructions to shoot Mrs. Allwine at a close range and burn down the house right after.
Although, the Besa Mafia communicator told Allwine that “local police [have] stopped the hitman [from] driving a stolen vehicle and taken [him] to jail prior to the hit,” due to which the service is left incomplete. Sergeant McAlister reported, during that time, “no one was apprehended in Minnesota and western Wisconsin in a stolen vehicle and possession of a gun.”
The hacker’s data breach provided a push to the investigators in the right direction. On March 24, 2017, the Washington County District charged him with first-degree murder.