A Tennessee Air National Guardsman was arrested on federal charges after he applied to be a hitman on a parody website called Rentahitman.com. The website, which claims to offer “professional discrete services” for clients who want to “solve problems”, was actually set up as a joke by a cybersecurity expert in 2005. However, the website also has a feature that allows visitors to fill out a “service request form” and submit their resumes to become hitmen.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, submitted his resume to the website in February 2023, stating that he had military experience and rifle expertise. He also said he was nicknamed “Reaper” and that he enjoyed “shooting and killing the marked target”. He followed up with an email expressing his interest in working as a hitman and said he needed the money to support his child on the way.
The website owner, who cooperates with law enforcement agencies, forwarded Garcia’s information to the FBI. An undercover agent then contacted Garcia and offered him a job to kill someone for $5,000. Garcia agreed and met with the agent at a park, where he received a fake target packet and a $2,500 down payment. He was arrested shortly after by FBI agents who searched his home and found an AR-style rifle.
Garcia was charged with the use of interstate facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He is currently in custody awaiting trial.
This is not the first time that Rentahitman.com has led to the arrest of people who tried to hire or become hitmen. According to the NY Post,
Rentahitman.com was created in 2005 by four friends attempting to create a cyber security company, as it was a play on words with “Rent as in hire us, Hit as in network traffic, and men, because there were four of us,” website owner Innes told People in last November.
While the company was failing to get off the ground, it began receiving “many inquiries about murder-for-hire services,” which led Innes to turn it into a parody site that included false testimonies from fictional customers, a Service Request Form and even a careers tab where people, like Garcia can “apply” to be a hitman.
Both the “Service Request Form” and “Careers Form” have been used many times to arrest people interested in using the services of a hitman on someone they know, including a New Mexico man who plotted his in-law’s murder on the site.