A 24-year-old British accountant has hit back at accusations he spent more than $5,000 in Bitcoin on the dark web in an attempt to hire a hitman to kill his American ex-girlfriend.
Adrian Fry's name appeared in a Harper’s Magazine article profiling an alleged threat made against Alexis Stern, a recent high school graduate from Big Lake, Minn. The city’s police chief says the FBI has taken over the case – and Fox News has reached out to the bureau for comment.
“I would never think of killing anyone, I've never so much as harmed a fly,” Fry, from Bath, told The Daily Mail this week while describing the allegations as “flimsy nonsense.”
The pair are reported to have dated online before Fry visited Minnesota in March 2018. Stern claims he was becoming increasingly bossy and broke up with him during his trip.
“I said very clearly I didn’t want to be with him, and he tried telling me I wasn’t thinking right and I was making a mistake,” she told Harper’s. Stern claimed Fry kept trying to contact her even after he returned overseas and “wouldn’t take no for an answer”.
Then in July of that year, a user with the alias ‘Mastermind365’ posted a message on the secretive Camorra Hitmen website – which advertised assassination services -- asking if it was possible for somebody to carry out a kidnapping, according to Harper’s.
A week later on July 15, the same user reportedly wrote: “I have changed my mind since I previously spoke to you.”
“I would not like this person to be kidnapped. Instead, i would just like this person to be shot and killed. Where, how and what with does not bother me at all. I would just like this person dead,” the user reportedly wrote.
The magazine says the user then transferred more than $5,000 in Bitcoin to the website along with a photo of Stern.
The user’s messages were sent to Harper’s from Chris Monteiro, a London-based IT worker who the publication says “spends his nights as a white-hat hacker and independent cybercrime researcher, navigating the shadowy spaces of the dark web.”
Montiero, Harper’s says, believes a scammer was operating the Camorra Hitmen site – one that had no intention of completing any order.
Yet Stern that month was called in for an interview with the Big Lake Police Department, where she was informed about the details of the alleged threat, Harper’s reports. It added that her parents installed a new home security system and she carried around a knife in her purse following that meeting with investigators.
The department’s chief, Joel Scharf, told Fox News on Monday that after the case “originally was reported to our department, we in turn requested that the FBI assume the case, which they did.”
Scharf added that in their records, Fry was "listed as a suspect at the time we took the case."
The magazine says when it shared Mastermind365’s messages with Stern to see if she could identify who wrote them, she determined that it was Fry.
“It’s definitely him,” she told Harper’s, saying that the user wrote “thankyou” as one word – something Fry would do as well – and that the date of the murder request, July 15, happened to be the same day she informed Fry she was seeing somebody new.
When Fry was approached at his home by The Daily Mail newspaper this week, he said “I can't believe what I'm hearing and what she's accusing me of.
“I'm traumatized and hurt that she would even think that it could be me,” he added.
Fry also told The Daily Mail that nobody from the FBI has reached out to him and denied Stern’s claims.
“Sometimes I write thank you as one word and sometimes two,” he said. “I have bad grammar but that doesn't mean I'm guilty of ordering somebody's murder.”
He added: “All I did when she told me about her new boyfriend was delete all her pictures and messages and de-friend her from Facebook. I've never spoken to her since.”
He continued: “None of the things that Alexis has pointed out is concrete evidence against me. It's just flimsy nonsense. She's understandably worried that somebody wants her killed and is looking for a scapegoat, who just happens to be me.”