Queens Woman Charged in Murder-for-Hire Plot Offering $10K, Sexual Favors, and Fake Crypto to Kill Lover's Wife and Daughter

By Madz Dizon

Jul 09, 2024 06:48 AM EDT

Queens Woman Charged in Murder-for-Hire Plot Offering $10K, Sexual Favors, and Fake Crypto to Kill Lover's Wife and Daughter

(Photo : PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay)

According to federal authorities, a woman from Queens fell victim to a scam when she attempted to hire a hitman online to eliminate her lover's wife.

Yue Zhou, 42, not only suffered a loss of $5,000 in Bitcoin to the scammer she believed was arranging the crime, but she also found herself facing a murder-for-hire charge after being indicted by the authorities.

Queens Woman Indicted in Murder-for-Hire Scam 

Zhou, who has been in custody since her arrest in Virginia last month. According to federal authorities, she allegedly traveled to various spas across the country, including establishments in Maryland and Wyoming that are suspected of being involved in illicit sex work.

Zhou, a Chinese national, was reportedly employed as a masseuse at various spas in multiple states. According to Daily Mail sources, Zhou also maintained a dating profile on Match.com.  

On June 5, she was taken into custody in Virginia and later transferred to New York on July 3. On Monday, she appeared in Brooklyn federal court before Judge Robert M. Levy and entered a plea of not guilty. Zhou is currently in custody and has not yet applied for bail.

The US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York highlighted the usage of modern technologies, such as Bitcoin, in the execution of her scheme, which ultimately resulted in a heinous act of premeditated murder.

Zhou, under the alias 'BIGTREE,' attempted to hire a hitman during the period from March 25, 2019 to April 4, 2019, NY Daily News reported.

According to documents, Zhou was involved in a romantic relationship with a married individual and had developed strong emotional attachment. She expressed her desire to marry and have children with him.

Unknowingly, she fell victim to a fake hitman website operated by an unknown party, and reportedly carried out the financial transactions required to advance her plan for a murder-for-hire.

Throughout the investigation, special agents from Homeland Security Investigations have verified the occurrence of a cryptocurrency transaction in connection to the 'BIGTREE' order.

She sought to settle the payment for the crime by reaching out to a Bitcoin exchange service located in Ukraine, which acted as a middleman. She completed a $5,000 transaction in Bitcoin on the website.

Afterwards, she handed over around $5,000 in cash to an intermediary in Brooklyn. When the transactions were completed, she promptly reached out to the administrator of the website to ensure that the payments had been successfully received.

After completing the transaction, she proceeded to provide a thorough account of her lover's spouse, who unfortunately became the first victim.

She provided the false hitman with the woman's residential address, work timetable, and the optimal time of day for the crime - all to ensure her partner had a solid alibi for the homicide.

She persisted in ensuring the death of her boyfriend's daughter, the second victim.

Upon developing doubts about the legitimacy of the hitman website, she resorted to sending a series of unsettling threats to the website administrator. These threats involved explicit references to physical and sexual harm directed towards the administrator and his family.

According to the documents, in December 2019, Zhou reached out to her lover's daughter from a previous marriage and sent her messages that were described as threatening.

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Yue Zhou's Disturbing Plans to Kill Boyfriend's Family Lasted Years

In February 2021, Zhou allegedly sent a message to an individual, offering a significant sum of money and making a disturbing request involving the daughter of her romantic partner. The intention behind this message was reportedly to harm the daughter and dispose of her remains in a body of water.

According to court documents, she allegedly made the disturbing statement, suggesting disposing of the body in the lake. I have no desire to encounter her again.

In early January 2021, it was discovered through cellular data that Zhou had been in contact with the neighbor of victim two, who resides in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Zhou has had brief stints at various spas across the country that are associated with illegal activities, including a spa in Cheyenne, Wyoming known as Asian Relax Sap on West Lincolnway.

In April 2021, authorities made arrests at a spa after a thorough investigation revealed that workers were engaging in illegal activities involving sexual acts in exchange for money. Local reports have provided details on the case.

Zhou was employed at the Cheyenne spa during the years 2020 and 2021. Prior to her arrest, Zhou had also been employed at a spa in Maryland that was linked to illegal activities involving sex work, as reported by local law enforcement.

The evidence against Zhou consisted of various forms of communication, including messages to a website offering hitman-for-hire services, text message exchanges, cell site data, IP address information, witness testimony identifying the defendant, a cryptocurrency tracing analysis, and transaction details.

The next court date is set for July 31.

READ MORE: Kansas Businessman Admits Guilt in Illegally Exporting Aviation Tech to Russia 

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