An Air National Guardsman is facing federal charges for allegedly using a parody website to offer hit man services to an undercover FBI agent.
Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, of Hermitage, Tennessee, was arrested and charged last week for trying to “culminate a deal to murder an individual for payment,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee said in a statement.
Garcia needed money to support his family and began searching online for mercenary jobs. He came across the website rentahitman.com and submitted an employment inquiry, officials said.
The website was originally created in 2005 to advertise a startup cybersecurity firm. When the company eventually failed, the site’s creator decided to convert it into a parody website, where people can apply to work as a hired killer. It features fake testimonials from satisfied “clients” and also has a portal where people can submit an employment inquiry.
Officials said Garcia submitted identification documents and a resume, saying he was an expert marksman, nicknamed “Reaper,” and was employed by the Air National Guard. An undercover FBI agent then reached out to Garcia, who subsequently agreed to murder an individual for $5,000.
When the two met in person, the undercover agent handed Garcia $2,500 as down payment and a packet containing information on a fictional person. After agreeing to the terms, officials said Garcia asked if the undercover agent wanted a photo of the dead body, and was promptly arrested. Agents said they also recovered an AR-style rifle from Garcia’s home.
If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in federal prison.