Woman attempts to hire hit on romantic rival via website

Published 7:41 am Friday, July 14, 2023

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – ZANDRA ELLIS, age 34, of New Orleans, pleaded guilty today to transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(c), announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.

According to court documents, in June 2022, ZANDRA ELLIS submitted a request to a website to have a romantic rival killed.  The website was, in fact, a parody website complete with its own web-based intake form for would-be solicitors to fill out, in their own words, the who, what, when, where, and why for requested services.  The site boasts its own fictitious privacy statement known as HIPPA (Hitman Information Privacy & Protection Act of 1964) and is linked directly to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (ic3.gov).  On July 5, 2022, ELLIS, communicated with an FBI undercover agent who was posing as a hitman.  In those text message exchanges, ELLIS confirmed the ongoing feud with a romantic rival, reiterated her request to have that person killed, and agreed to pay the “hitman” $1,000.  When ELLIS met the undercover agent on July 6, 2022, she provided a $100 down payment after which she was arrested.  At the time of her arrest, ELLIS possessed a loaded Ruger .380 pistol.

ELLIS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years, a fine of up to $250,000.00, up to three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, and a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.  She will be sentenced on October 17, 2023.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory M. Kennedy of the Violent Crime Unit.