NEWARK, N.J. – A Newton, New Jersey, man today admitted that he planned the kidnapping and murder of a woman he met online, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Christopher Thieme, 36, of Sussex County, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of attempted kidnapping and one count of murder-for-hire.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Thieme admitted that from December 2015 through Jan. 4, 2016, he sought assistance from an associate to kidnap and ultimately murder a woman whom Thieme had previously met through an online dating service. Thieme’s associate alerted law enforcement to Thieme’s plans and cooperated with the investigation into Thieme’s plot.
In early January, at the direction of law enforcement, Thieme’s associate introduced Thieme to an undercover FBI agent posing as a hitman. Thieme explained to the undercover FBI agent that, once the victim was kidnapped, Thieme would empty the victim’s bank accounts and fraudulently sell off her home, the proceeds of which Thieme planned to use to pay for the kidnapping and murder.
The attempted kidnapping charge carries a potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The murder-for-hire charge carries a potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation. He also thanked members of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, the New Jersey State Police, the Newton Police Department, the Paramus Police Department, the Paterson Police Department, the Roxbury Police Department, and the Wayne Police Department for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Hafetz of the U.S. Attorney’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Patrick McMahon Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark