Fraudsters arrested for years running fake site to order assassinations

assassination site

Romanian police have arrested five men behind the dark web’s most notorious assassinations sites: Besa Mafia, Camorra Hitman, and, more recently, Hitman Marketplace #1.

The resource was fake, and the site administrators did not know any killers, but this did not stop them from taking from 5,000 to 20,000 dollars in bitcoins to search for performers.

The site was created in the 2010s and allegedly offered visitors a platform to search for contractors for assassinations. Users were asked to provide details of the target and information on how and when the assassination was to take place and then were asked to pay a “commission” in bitcoin.

Assassination site

From the very beginning, it was clear that the site was most likely a fraudulent one, and yet, over the years of its operation, the administration has accepted thousands of orders and found many paying customers. Husbands ordered the murders of their wives, business partners sought killers for their colleagues, a man who lost money on a sports betting site asked about the murder of a customer service representative who refused to help with a refund, and there was even one who ordered the murder of a 14-year-old teenager.

Many details about Besa Mafia became known back in 2016, when the site was hacked, and information about the users of the site and their orders became public. Let me remind you that at that time, the resource claimed to be connected with the Albanian mafia.

The Romanian Organized Crime and Terrorism Investigation Authority (DIICOT) now reports that the raids and arrests were carried out at the request of US authorities. The US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have been investigating cases related to this resource for many years. As DIICOT writes:

The US authorities have determined that this group consists of five or more persons located on the territory of Romania and coordinately operates these sites and launders money received due to incitement to murder.

As a result, during the operation by law enforcement officers, five people and four witnesses were detained.

Information security expert Christopher Monteiro, who studied Besa Mafia activity in detail back in 2016 and devoted a series of articles to it on his blog, angered the site administrators so much that they threatened him personally.

Then Monteiro wrote that Besa Mafia is a scam and, to some extent, an urban legend. However, the users of the site took their “orders” seriously, they wanted to cause real harm to other people, and the expert tried for a long time to warn the authorities about this danger.

Unfortunately, law enforcement officers took Besa Mafia seriously only in the 2020s. As a result, according to Monteiro, about 25 customers have since been arrested, but the administration of the site has remained elusive until recently.

For many years, the authorities did not know who was behind the Besa Mafia since someone “Yura” was responsible for all contacts with users. He talked to people who asked questions about the services of killers, encouraged them to make orders, and tried to dispel all their fears in broken English. Based on the logs of such chats, the authorities assumed that he lived in Eastern Europe (most likely in Romania). At the same time, Yura even gave interviews to journalists, changing his voice, but his identity and whereabouts were not known for certain.

Even now, after all the arrests and searches, it is not clear whether Besa Mafia was the brainchild of one person who developed his “business” to such an extent that he needed the support of an entire team or some group was always behind the site.

DIICOT reports that the damage from the work of the Besa Mafia is estimated at about 500,000 euros, but if the scammers kept the bitcoins received in 2016, they would probably be worth much more today.

The aforementioned Christopher Monteiro, who for years tried to draw attention to the Besa Mafia problem, reacted ambiguously to the news about the detention of Yura.

It’s good that an international law enforcement operation led to the arrest of these criminals, but will they ever begin an active investigation into the thousands of names on the “death list”?the researcher comments on the pages of the Vice Motherboard.

The media also note that Besa Mafia already has many imitators. For example, a journalist from Vice Motherboard writes that he easily found a similar site on the darknet aimed at a Russian-speaking audience. From there, he was directed to Telegram, where he asked how he could find a killer in Los Angeles. The resource owners answered him within a few minutes, saying they could arrange everything quickly and the murder would cost $15,000.

Let me remind you that we also talked about the fact that the British police announced the arrest of several members of the Lapsus$ group, and also that the US authorities arrested Kaseya hacker and attacker associated with REvil and GandCrab.

By Vladimir Krasnogolovy

Vladimir is a technical specialist who loves giving qualified advices and tips on GridinSoft's products. He's available 24/7 to assist you in any question regarding internet security.

View all of Vladimir Krasnogolovy's posts.

4 comments

  1. too bad they were arrested

    scamming people who want to kill people is saving lifes

    These people who run fake hitmen sites are foiling murderers plans to kill people and are saving many victims from being killed

    Many people who want someone dead are well determined, and will do the killing themselves if nothing else works.

    That was the case of Stephen Allwine, he tried everything to kill his wife and when everything failed he killed her himself

    When people try fake hitmen sites and get scammed, they get discouraged and most give up.

    Other people get arrested by Police and the they can not try other means to kill their victim

    Even if one single customer gets arrested by Police, as an indirect result of customer ordering on a fake hitman site, then one life is saved and the fake hitman site did a good thing

    But there are many customers who got arrested by Police so there were many lives that were saved

    Do you prefer people not to run fake hitmen sites? If there would be no fake hitmen sites, lots of people will search for alternative ways to kill the victims

    And more victims would be dead

  2. No one has been arrested, fortunately, because they got the wrong people. This article is a lie when it says people have been arrested

    Police have conducted raids and seized laptops and devices, but they didn’t find anything related to hitmen or to fake hitman sites. The people had been released the same day from police custody

    The hitmen sites are still online and working

    Police officers in the USA have been doing abuse, they are looking to find scape goats to blame for the fake hitmen sites and they checked the wrong people

    One would expect when they arrested operators to shut down sites at the same time, yet no people have been arrested, and no sites have been shut down with the FBI logo.

    The USA police are just promoting fake news articles, and they are pursuing wrong leads, trying to punish innocent people to cover up their inability to find the real owners.

  3. All hitmen on dark web are fake, but they have a good impact on society as they decrease murder rates.

    Fake hitmen put obstacles in the customers plans of killing someone, this causing a decrease in killing rate per year because lots of customers give up on their killing plan or they get arrested by police

    As a result fake hitmen decrease killing rates because:
    They stall the customers as much as possible, making them wait for a hit that never happens, buying time for targets ( without being tricked into waiting for a hit, a customer could decide to do the kiling by himself )
    They scam the customers of their money, over and over again, so that the customers cannot afford to pay criminals on dark alleys later if they decide to
    They send target information to police, so that police have a chance of saving the targets

    So all these things, stalling the customers, scamming the customers, sending target info to police, is actually doing it more difficult for people to achieve their killing plans, lots of them give up

    Would you prefer that someone who wants to kill you, gets lots of obstacles in the way? Like fake hitmen, a faulty gun, fake poison, broken knife etc?

    Why do you want to remove these obstacles for the people who plan to murder someone? Why do you teach them how to avoid fake hitmen, or how to check the gun before to make sure it works etc?

  4. These fake hitmen sites are putting obstacles in front of the customers who want to get killing done, because the fake hitmen sites are:
    1. Stalling the customers as much as possible, buying time for the targets
    2. Scamming customers again and again until customers don’t have more funds to achieve their killing plan
    3. They give target info to police to help them protect the targets and arrest the customers

    The fake hitmen sites are decreasing the murder rates because many people who want to kill fall in the fake hitmen sites trap, awaiting a long time for a hit that never happens, until either they get arrested or get tired of everything and give up

    You can read there have been many customers arrested because of the fake hitmen sites, and these customers who got arrested were now disabled from continuing with their plan to kill the targets, so many lives have been saved with the fake hitmen sites

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