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Massachusetts man convicted of murder for hire of former partner in scheme involving California, New York, Florida



SAN FRANCISCO – A federal jury convicted a Massachusetts man of murder for hire after he arranged to pay an undercover FBI agent to murder the mother of his young children, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. The verdict follows a one-week trial before the Hon. Jacqueline Scott Corley, U.S. District Judge.

The evidence at trial established that 48-year-old Allen Gessen of Massachusetts, was an attorney licensed in New York when he was introduced to an undercover FBI agent by a target of a separate FBI investigation into violations of international money laundering. In the summer of 2022, Gessen met with the undercover FBI agent on two occasions, first in Boca Raton, Florida and then again in New York City, New York. During the meetings, Gessen volunteered details of a years-long dispute with his former partner which had resulted in contentious child custody proceedings. At these meetings and through a series of encrypted electronic messages, Gessen initiated plans to commit two different crimes utilizing the undercover FBI agent’s connections. The evidence at trial established that over the course of the investigation, Gessen’s objectives quickly transformed from bribing an immigration official to deport his former partner to hiring someone to murder her.

The trial evidence established that Gessen believed his former partner’s deportation would allow him to have full custody of their two minor children. Gessen initially agreed to pay the undercover FBI agent $100,000 to accomplish the bribery and deportation scheme. Gessen explained he could justify the expenditure because he would pay more in child support if his former partner remained in the United States. However, at the end of that same meeting, Gessen resolved to murder his former partner because it was a “cheaper way to get rid of her” and was a more permanent solution.

The trial evidence established that Gessen agreed to pay $50,000 to have the murder completed. Specifically, he agreed to pay a $25,000 deposit and have the remaining $25,000 be due after her murder. During these discussions, Gessen told the undercover FBI agent that he had previously researched murder for hire and paid $10,000 toward accomplishing the task. Gessen said he paid for a hit team from a foreign country to travel to Massachusetts, conduct reconnaissance, and surveil his former partner. Nevertheless, Gessen explained, after the team completed their reconnaissance, they told Gessen it would cost another $210,000 to commit the murder. Gessen did not continue with that plan because of the cost.

The government established at trial that Gessen finalized the details for the murder for hire plan at the subsequent meeting and gave the undercover FBI agent a gold coin worth approximately $2,000. Shortly thereafter, Gessen wired a total of $23,000 to an FBI undercover bank account in San Francisco, to carry out the murder. Around the same time, Gessen also sent to the undercover FBI agent a written agreement containing a promise to pay for phony “consulting services” as a method to disguise the true nature of the funds. Gessen also provided to the undercover FBI agent a target package containing details about his former partner’s whereabouts, schedule, and lifestyle habits.

A federal grand jury indicted Gessen on July 26, 2022, charging him with one count of murder for hire, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1958. The jury convicted Gessen of the charge.

Judge Corley has not yet set a date for Gessen’s sentencing hearing. Gessen faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence will be imposed only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

The case is being prosecuted by the Corporate and Securities Fraud Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The case is being investigated by the FBI.

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