A Massachusetts man tried to order a hitman to kill his wife and instead messaged an undercover federal agent, authorities say

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The badge of Boston Police Commissioner William Gross is shown before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros on September 7, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images
  • A Massachusetts man tried to hire a hitman to kill his wife but messaged a federal agent instead.

  • Massimo Marenghi, 54, was charged with one count of murder-for-hire stemming from the attempt.

  • Prosecutors allege Merenghi also provided the agent with his wife's work schedule and home address.

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A Massachusetts man attempted to hire a hitman to kill his wife but inadvertently messaged an undercover federal agent instead, according to the Department of Justice.

Massimo Marenghi, 54, was charged in the District of Massachusetts with one count of murder-for-hire. Court documents allege that Marenghi confided several times to a confidential source that he was having marital issues with his wife, who had filed a restraining order against him.

According to a sworn affidavit by Special Agent Bryce J Ferrara, Marenghi asked the source if he would kill his wife on Marenghi's behalf. The source told Marenghi that if he was serious, the hit would cost $10,000 in cash. Marenghi agreed.

Soon after, the confidential source relayed this to the FBI and local police and agreed to assist in their investigation. The FBI provided the informant with the name and contact information of an undercover federal agent to pass along to Marenghi under the guise it was a hitman.

Marenghi apparently attempted to be discrete about the murder-for-hire while messaging the undercover agent, telling him that his name was "Boston" and was inquiring about a "construction job." A week later in an in-person meeting, prosecutors allege Marenghi told the undercover agent that he had a "situation" that needed "taken care of" for his "soon-to-be" ex-wife.

"I need the problem eliminated," he said to the fake hitman, according to the affidavit.

Soon after, Marenghi gave $1,500 in cash to the federal agent as a deposit for the murder and provided him with his wife's schedule, place of work, home address, and a photograph of her. Court filings also allege that Marenghi told the undercover agent where the security camera outside of his wife's home was, its blind spots, and an exit route to evade detection.

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At the time of the arrest, Marenghi was living with his parents. Federal prosecutors recently filed applications for search warrants of their home, Marenghi's car, and his electronics. The warrants have yet to be served, according to the federal court docket for Marenghi's case.

According to a press release from the DOJ, Marenghi was arrested on January 29 and had his first court appearance on February 1. If convicted, Marenghi faces upwards of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release.

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