The operator of a fictitious website that claims to offer contract killer services has spent several years alerting authorities to would-be clients looking to snuff out their loved ones or enemies, saying it has become a "personal mission."
"Rent-A-Hitman" claims to be run by someone named "Guido Fanelli" but is in reality operated by Bob Ines, a California man who notifies authorities of the deadly inquiries he receives. The site claims to offer "customizable solutions for every situation" and has fake client testimonials from people who previously experienced issues with disgruntled employees and cheating husbands.
Ines told Fox News he started the site in 2005 as part of a failed cyber-security start-up. In 2008, after failing to sell the domain name, he checked the website's inbox and saw 250 to 300 emails from people around the world seeking hitman inquiries, jobs and even a date, he said.
"That was really the first thing that prompted me to do something serious with the website," Ines said. "It's a $9.20 website that saves lives. It's become kind of a personal mission at this point."
Another request in 2018 involved a Virginia man who wanted his ex-girlfriend and her parents killed. He also wanted her infant daughter kidnapped so he could raise her as his own, Ines said. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Despite being featured in news articles, including Rolling Stone, people continue to fall for the ruse.
"I don't think my clientele reads the news or watches the news. I think they're hell-bent on causing harm to others," Ines said. "It's been that way for years. People still submit service requests. It's amazing."
One of his most recent clients pleaded guilty earlier this month to allegedly trying to hire a hitman through the website to kill her ex-husband. Wendy Wein, a 52-year-old Michigan resident, admitted to solicitation to commit murder and illegal use of a computer to facilitate a crime and faces nine years in prison.
Like many who came before her, Wein filled out a service request form to help her with an "issue." Ines contacted authorities, who investigated the case. While meeting up with an undercover state trooper posing as a hitman, Wein allegedly offered to pay him $5,000 to rub out her former spouse, who lives in another state.
"I've never talked to him, by the way, but I hope he's well," Ines said of the ex-husband.
Wein allegedly provided the undercover trooper an upfront payment for travel expenses, the Michigan State Police said at the time of her July 2020 arrest.
As part of a last-chance effort, Ines said he always gives his so-called clients the option to back out before things get serious. Even if they don't, his website contains several red flags that should give anyone pause before moving forward with a plan that could result in death and prison time.
At the bottom of the site is a claim that the business is no longer affiliated with the Diners Club, rapper Kanye West, Alec Baldwin, who accidentally shot and killed a worker on a New Mexico movie set in October and Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted of killing two protesters and wounding a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year, due to "contractual restrictions."
A link asking users if their credit card number has been stolen leads back to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3. The website also boasts that the company has 17,985 operatives in the United States — the number of police agencies nationwide, Ines said.
The website says it complies with HIPPA, the "Hitman Information Privacy & Protection Act of 1964," which doesn't exist, and is a play on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, an actual federal law that created national standards to protect sensitive patient health information.
The website has prevented more than 130 murders, Michigan authorities said. Wein faces up to nine years in prison when she is sentenced in January.