Last week, a member of the Tennessee Air National Guard was detained after he allegedly submitted a fake hitman application.
On Thursday, Josiah Ernesto Garcia, 21, was charged with using interstate facilities to commit murder-for-hire after he allegedly contacted potential victims using the bogus hitman website “Rentahitman.com.”
Garcia “needed money to support his family” and “began searching online for contract mercenary jobs,” as stated in a news statement from the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.
On February 16th, Garcia contacted the site for the first time by filling out a job inquiry form and stating that he was looking to “obtaining employment as a hitman.”
According to court records filed on April 12, he requested a detailed job description and highlighted his “military experience and rifle expertise” in the application.
The prospective assassin kept in touch with the website over the following few days, sending over his driver’s license from the state of Tennessee, along with a photo of himself and his CV.
“Im looking for a job, that pays well, related to my military experience (Shooting and Killing the marked target) so I can support my kid on the way,” Garcia said through a follow-up email, according to the criminal complaint. “What can I say, I enjoy doing what I do, so if I can find a job that is similar to it, (such as this one) put me in coach!”
Air National Guardsman arrested after applying online to be a hitman https://t.co/fXU5eG8ezb pic.twitter.com/U51Yg9QhzW— New York Post (@nypost) April 16, 2023
On his resume, Garcia bragged about being an expert marksman “awarded for not missing a single bullseye on all of the targets and for shooting expert with 2 (or more) weapons.”
Garcia, who was employed by the Air National Guard since July 2021, claimed he went by the nickname “Reaper,” which he earned “from Military experience and Marksmanship.”
Garcia, eager to go to work, followed up twice between February 23 and March 13 in the hopes of hearing about possible employment opportunities.
Following an order from the FBI, the website’s owner, Bob Innes, responded to Garcia, saying “Josiah, a Field Coordinator will be in touch in the near future. You will receive a message when they are ready. Timing is based on client needs.”
An undercover FBI agent was assigned to pose as an agent for the website and contacted Garcia for a phone interview, which led to the two meeting for an in-person where Garcia said he was “looking into [killing people for money] for a while.”
On April 12, Garcia was scheduled to meet with the undercover agent to discuss a potential “target” that would pay $5,000 for taking out the client’s abusive husband.
Garcia was shown photos of the dummy target and handed half of the compensation.
After Garcia received the money, he inquired as to whether or not photographs of the victim were necessary for an FBI arrest.
Garcia told the FBI that he wanted to inform the undercover agent that he had been offered and accepted a position at Vanderbilt Medical in Nashville during their meeting before he was arrested.
After Garcia’s capture, the FBI conducted a search of his residence and reportedly found an AR-style rifle, the same kind of weapon he had said he would use for any future contract murders.
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.
As the business struggled to take off, Innes received “many inquiries about murder-for-hire services,” prompting him to transform the site into a parody in which fictitious customers provide glowing testimonials, a Service Request Form is available, and even Garcia can “apply” to become 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.
A lady from Michigan acknowledged in November 2021 that in July 2020 she tried to hire a hitman via the website to have her husband assassinated for $5,000.