A former high school social studies teacher learned an important lesson about the appropriate use of Bitcoin when he was arrested in late April for allegedly hiring a hitman online to kill his wife and paying him with $17,800 in the digital currency.
Nelson Replogle, 59, of Tennessee has been arrested for the alleged plot, charged with one count of murder for hire.
The FBI was alerted April 20 by the British Broadcasting Corporation, which indicated Ann Replogle was the intended target of the murder for hire with the act to be accomplished while she was taking her pet to a veterinary appointment.
Upon learning of the plot, authorities were dispatched to Ann Replogle’s residence where they interviewed both she and her spouse. Despite having detailed information from the tip about the date and time she would be out as well as her vehicle’s make, model and color, neither could offer the name of anyone who might want to kill Ann Replogle.
Follow the (Digital) Money
Nelson Replogle’s guise began to unravel, however, when authorities were able to trace the payment to the would-be killer to Coinbase wallets. After issuing a subpoena to Coinbase and with their subsequent cooperation, the trail led to Nelson Replogle. The registration information for the wallet included a photo I.D. of Nelson Replogle as well as an IP address tied to Nelson and the couple’s residence. The subpoena also allegedly indicated the savings account Nelson Replogle used in making transactions to said account.
Nelson Replogle is currently being held without bail. Because his wife was not physically harmed, if convicted he could face a maximum of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The jury is still out as to whether he would pay the fine in Bitcoin.
What Is Coinbase?
Launched in 2012 and based in San Francisco, Calif., the company has been an early pioneer and broker for cryptocurrencies enabling its users to buy, sell, and store Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and other digital currencies. It is used by more than 35 million people in over 100 countries.
Is Coinbase Safe?
The short answer is, yes – not only with your digital currencies but also with your personal data. The company has a firm reputation for cooperating with regulators and is compliant with the Bank Secrecy Act and the USA Patriot Act. It is registered as a Money Services Business with FinCEN and is backed by a multitude of trusted investors.
The internet is rife with stories of hacked Bitcoin companies or failed exchanges, so it’s only natural to be concerned about the safety of your investments and your personal information as well. With Coinbase, however, some 98 percent of its customers’ digital currencies are held in secure offline storage. The company also uses several 2-factor authentication methods to safely store your personal data.