A Massachusetts man attempted to hire an undercover FBI agent posing as a hitman to kill his wife.
Massimo Marenghi, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of murder-for-hire on Thursday, the US Attorney’s Office said in a statement. The case first came to the attention of authorities in early 2021 when an individual alerted police that Marenghi asked for assistance in a murder plot against his wife.
At the time, Marenghi complained that his wife had sought a restraining order against him.
Directed by law enforcement, the individual introduced Marenghi to an undercover agent who posed as a contract killer. According to officials in the investigation, Marenghi met with the agent on 20 January 2021 and asked them to “eliminate his problem.”
He also gave the agent a photograph of his wife’s residence in the city of Malden and instructions on how to evade detection by cameras while approaching it.
According to court documents reviewed by The Independent, Marenghi discussed the murder plot several months before his arrest but the party who informed police was able to talk him out of it.
When he brought up the topic again in January 2021, the police informant said that he would charge him $10,000 if Marenghi “was serious about having his wife killed.” Marenghi then agreed and gave the individual his wife’s employment location and hours, her home address and a description of her vehicle.
As instructed by the informant, Marenghi contacted the undercover agent by calling a recorded line and inquiring about a “construction job”.
“He also provided ... a schedule indicating when he would have custody of his children, which he said would be the ‘best time for the construction work to start’,” a statement by the US Attorney’s office read.
The individual then contacted law enforcement.
Marenghi met with the FBI agent for a second time on 29 June 2021, and paid him $1,500 in cash as a deposit for the murder.
He asked the undercover agent for some time, so he could “free up some assets because everything is tied up right now”.
Marenghi then said once that part was sorted, the sooner the “demolition job” took place, the sooner he would be able to pay the rest.
He faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Marengui will be sentenced on 8 June.