Rent-A-Hitman: Behind the bogus website a Michigan woman thought would have her ex-husband killed

Last year, Wendy Wein wanted her ex-husband dead, so she headed to to put in a "service request."

The website says it has been providing solutions for issues since 1920. It offers "free consultations" and makes it a point to show how much the site respects users' privacy, even featuring a note about HIPPA – the Hitman Information Privacy & Protection Act of 1964.

There's also customer testimonials about how effective the service is, such as this one from Laura S. in Arizona: "Caught my husband cheating with the babysitter and our relationship was terminated after a free public relations consultation. I'm single again and looking to mingle."

Just fill out an online form with information about yourself and your intended target and you are one step closer to eliminating your problem for good, right? Wrong.

If it isn't fairly obvious, Rent-A-Hitman is a bogus site, but that doesn't stop people like Wein from entering their information and offering to pay to have someone killed.

Bob Innes, of California, started the website as a class project in 2005. He didn't do anything with the site until he revisited it several years later and saw people were actually reaching out for hitmen.

So, he started responding to inquiries asking people if they still needed the services and if they wanted to meet with a field operative. The website claims that Rent-A-Hitman has more than 17,985 field operatives in the U.S. who "can find a solution that's right for you!"

If someone said yes, he passes their information on to law enforcement to handle the situation.

Wein, of South Rockford, Mich., thought she was communicating with Guido Fanelli when she reached out to have her ex murdered in July 2020. Really, she was talking to Innes, who called Michigan State Police.

Wendy Wein

MSP sent an undercover detective to meet with Wein, who said she would pay $5,000 to have her ex-husband killed. She provided his home address, work address, and phone number. Later that day, she met with the same undercover detective and gave a $200 downpayment for the crime.

She was arrested and charged with solicitation of murder and using a computer to commit a crime. Wein pleaded guilty to both charges last week as part of a plea deal. She could spend up to 108 months in prison when she is sentenced early next year.

In 2020, Innes said that his website has prevented more than 140 murders and noted that he still receives inquiries. He has had people reach out looking for everything from murders to school shootings to a baby abduction.