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Man ‘paid $20,000 in Bitcoin to have child porn victim murdered by hitman before calling it off’ 

A New Jersey man paid $20,000 in Bitcoin to have his 13-year-old child porn victim murdered by a hitman, before calling it off and asking for a refund, according to authorities. 

John Michael Musbach, 31, of Haddonfield, was arrested Thursday and charged over the murder-for-hire plot of the New York girl in 2016 after an informant handed details of the scheme to authorities. 

The killing contract allegedly came after Musbach was arrested on child pornography charges back in March 2016 when the girl’s parents learned he was exchanging sexually explicit videos and photos with their 13-year-old daughter online. 

Prosecutors said Musbach then arranged to have the child killed, even checking that her age was not a problem for a hit to be carried out, and paid around $20,000 to a website offering the service – only backing out when he was asked to send another $5,000 payment. 

The suspect, who worked for a cloud hosting company at the time, first began communicating online with his victim in the summer of 2015. 

The conversations soon escalated to Musbach getting the young girl to send sexually explicit videos and photographs of herself and to him sending similar videos and images of himself, according to federal prosecutors. 

The girl’s parents discovered the nature of the chats in September 2015 and notified police in New York state.  

Musbach was told he was under investigation for his online sexual contact and was told to stay away from the victim.  

He was then arrested by Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office on child pornography charges in March 2016 and his cell phone and laptop were seized.  

Musbach confessed to sending and receiving sexually explicit images and videos to the victim while knowing that she was just 13. 

He pleaded guilty to child endangerment by sexual contact in October 2017 and received a two-year suspended prison sentence in 2018 and was placed on lifetime parole. 

In 2019, a cooperating informant began providing information to Homeland Security agents in St. Paul, Minnesota, and provided messages between Musbach and a website on the dark web which claimed to offer contract killings or other acts of violence in return for cryptocurrency payments.

The messages revealed that in May 2016, Musbach had arranged through the website to have the child executed, prosecutors said.  

In the messages, Musbach asked if a 14-year-old was too young to target and, when he was told the victim’s age wasn’t a problem, he paid around 40 Bitcoin (equivalent to around $20,000) to have the hit carried out, prosecutors said.

Authorities said the 31-year-old then repeatedly messaged the website’s administrator asking when the hit would take place. 

Musbach only backed out when he was asked for an extra $5,000 to secure the hit, prosecutors said.

He then sought to cancel the contract and asked for a refund. 

The website’s administrator then revealed the website was a scam and threatened to report him to the police.    

Musbach was arrested Thursday and charged with using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.

He was due to make his initial court appearance Thursday via videoconference before US Magistrate Judge Karen M. Williams. 

Musbach faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted. 

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