Queens woman hires bogus hitman on the dark web to kill her lover’s wife: Feds

Photo via Getty Images

A Flushing woman is accused of ordering a hitman on the dark web in a twisted plot to kill her lover’s wife.

Yue Zhou, 42, allegedly also discussed having the targeted victim’s adult daughter whacked by the contract killer, who turned out to be a scammer, according to federal prosecutors.

As alleged in the indictment unsealed in Brooklyn federal court on Monday and other court documents, between March 25, 2019, and April 4, 2019, Zhou sought to hire a hitman through a murder-for-hire website to murder the spouse of her then-romantic partner. Using an alias on the website, Zhou placed an order to have her murdered. To pay for the hit, Zhou contracted with a Bitcoin exchange service in Ukraine to make a $5,000 payment in Bitcoin on her behalf to the website.

Zhou provided approximately $5,000 in cash to a middleman in Brooklyn and then communicated with the website administrator to confirm payment. After sending payment, Zhou provided a detailed description of the victim, including her home address, work schedule and the best times to target her so that the woman’s husband would have an alibi for the murder.

Zhou later tried to use the same website to secure the murder of her then-romantic partner’s adult daughter. In February 2021, Zhou also sent a text message to a neighbor of the daughter seeking to hire that neighbor to kill the daughter. Zhou offered the neighbor $10,000 and sexual favors in exchange for killing the daughter and disposing of the body in a lake. Zhou was not aware at the time of her scheme that the website was a scam operated by a third party and there was no actual hitman for hire.

“As alleged, the defendant took affirmative steps to hire a hitman to carry out the ruthless killing of the wife of her romantic partner,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. “Her depraved plan was only thwarted because the website she used to set up the murder-for-hire was a scam. Although the scam involved newer technologies like the Internet and Bitcoin, the end result would have been age-old cold-blooded murder.”

Zhou was arrested by federal agents in Virginia on June 5 and extradited back to New York on July 3.

“Yoe Zhou is accused of offering cryptocurrency, cash and even sexual favors during her discussions related to having her then-partner’s spouse and adult daughter killed,” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Ivan Arvelo said. “Little did she know, the website she allegedly thought she was using to solicit a hitman was a farce, and the crimes of which she is accused soon caught up to her.”

Zhou, a citizen of China who does not have permanent legal status in the United States, pleaded not guilty to the indictment during her arraignment in Brooklyn federal court on Monday afternoon. U.S. Magistrate Judge Rober Levy ordered her detained pending trial. She faces more than 12 years in prison if convicted on the murder-for-hire charge, according to court filings.