With the pandemic, most people are shopping online and there are growing accounts of “doom shopping” dangers for many who are becoming heavily indebted through retail therapy. Wendy Lynn Wein’s retail therapy, however, involved shopping for someone to kill her ex-husband. She found a convenient site called “RentAHitman.com” without realizing that it was a fake operation. The site owner turned her into the police and she has now been given a 7 to 20-year prison sentence.
The website is owned by California-based host Bob Innes who told KGO-TV that he created the site as a “class project” in 2005. Notably, he says that the site has been used to catch people seeking hitmen and that this is not the first such referral that he has made to authorities. When Innes received Wein’s message, he sent a response as a fake assassin named “Guido Fanelli,” who offered her a chance to get in touch with a “field operative.” That is when Innes contacted police.
While Wein, 52, used a pseudonym, she entered real information at the bottom of her request for a hitman in retaliation for what she said were thefts by her ex-husband. A detective then posed as a hitman-for-hire and received $200 from Wein as a down payment. The total contract was for $5000.
This seems a dangerous sideline for a private person. You are helping to trap people who are actively looking to murder third parties. I am a bit surprised that the police do not discourage such a private sting operation given the risks to Innes and other private citizens. The site promises to be “your point & click solution!” It also appears to solicit donations to “buy Guido a cup of coffee.” However, when you click on that option it reveals the name of Innes and gives his picture. Notably, the site also promises that it wants to protect the privacy of users.
Wein pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder and using a computer to commit a crime on Nov. 13, 2021. She was given time-served credit for the 545 days already served in jail before sentencing.