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A Michigan woman who allegedly tried to hire a contract killer on a fake website has been sentenced to 7-20 years in prison.
Wendy Lynn Wein, 52, had previously pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder and using a computer to commit a crime.
With time served, she is expected to be out of jail in 5-1/2 years for reportedly attempting to get someone to murder her ex-husband via the Rent-A-Hitman website.
“Despite using a pseudonym, she entered real information at the bottom of her request, in which she accused the ex of stealing from her, according to authorities. A detective posed as a potential hitman, prosecutors said, and Wein paid him $200 as a down payment on what she believed would have been a $5,000 murder-for-hire,” Fox News reported.
She apparently also wrote on the service request that she preferred not going to jail.
Wein was arrested in July 2020, however, after the website owner had contacted the Michigan State Police, and investigators set up the meet with the undercover cop.
She apparently found the website, which jokes that it is compliant with a different HIPPA law, the fictitious Hitman Information Privacy and Protection Act of 1964, through a Google search.
Bob Innes, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, developed the bogus website in 2005 as part of an IT class project. The name was meant to be a play on words: “Rent as in, hire us. Hit as in visitor traffic, analytics, and that kind of thing.” He subsequently tried to auction off the domain with no takers.
About 2-1/2 years later, he checked the email mailbox for the dormant website and found approximately three hundred messages “from people around the world that were seeking various services,” he told Rolling Stone magazine in October 2020. “I really didn’t think that people were gonna be that stupid [to take the domain seriously]. Boy, did they show me.”
Authorities have reportedly arrested about a dozen “would-be assailants” who have filled out the website’s service request form in relation to a problem “that needs resolving,” according to Rolling Stone.
The webmaster notifies law enforcement if any of these requests seem serious. “The website has prevented, essentially, 150 murders at this point,” Innes told ABC San Francisco affiliate KGO, ABC 7, in November 2021.
From the Washington Post:
Innes vets the entries, which come in at a clip of about eight to 10 a month these days. He tosses the crank entries. But if he can verify the existence of the person requesting a hit man and the target they want killed, he forwards the information to one of RentAHitman’s 17,985 “field operatives,” which just so happens to be the approximate number of law enforcement agencies in the country. All these years later, he’s still a little dumbfounded people don’t realize his site is bogus.
Watch an interview with Innes from ABC 7 embedded below:
Wein’s ex allegedly stole $20,000 from her.
At the sentencing, Wein indicated that she was reeling from the death of eight family members. “I am not making excuses for myself. I simply wanted to let you know where my head was.”
She also said that “I take full responsibility for my actions, and I hope a lesson is learned by my example. I had no right to lash out at anyone, and in a manner of minutes I changed everyone’s lives.”
Watch a report on the sentencing from Fox 2 Detroit:
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