ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Christopher Pence, 41, of Cedar City, Utah, was charged with a murder-for-hire scheme. He allegedly used the internet to solicit and pay for the murders of two people in Rensselaer County.

According to the indictment and a previously filed criminal complaint, between July 16 and August 9, Pence used a computer at his residence in Utah to connect to a darknet website that offered the services of “hitmen.” He paid approximately $16,000 in Bitcoin for the murder of Rensselaer County residents, who ultimately were not harmed.

According to the DOJ, a murder-for-hire scheme carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to the years. 

Pence was arrested in Utah on October 27.  A magistrate judge in Utah ordered him detained and transferred in custody to the Northern District of New York. The date for his arraignment in Albany federal court has not yet been released.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emmet J. O’Hanlon.