A Massachusetts man pleaded guilty in federal court last week to attempting to hire a contract killer to murder his wife. But, unbeknownst to the husband, the man he tried to hire for the job was an undercover federal agent.
Massimo Marenghi, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of murder-for-hire before U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs, who has set his sentencing hearing for June 8. Marenghi was initially arrested in January 2021 when he was charged through a criminal complaint. A federal grand jury in February 2021 then indicted him.
Massimo Marenghi, of Malden, MA, admitted today to attempting to hire a contract killer, who was actually an undercover #FBI agent, to murder his wife, following an investigation by FBI Boston's Violent Crimes Task Force. https://t.co/lUc4KDTymk
— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) March 16, 2023
On New Year’s Day in 2021, an informant advised law enforcement officers that Marenghi was complaining about his wife’s efforts to obtain a legal restraining order against him. Marenghi asked the informant for help in carrying out the murder of his wife.
Federal agents directed the informant to an undercover federal officer who posed as a contract killer. Marenghi met with the undercover officer on January 20, 2021, and asked him to help him “eliminate his problem” related to his wife. The defendant then provided the officer with a photo of his wife’s residence and instructions on avoiding surveillance cameras she had positioned on the property.
Marenghi met again with the undercover officer on January 29, 2021. The two discussed the details of the murder-for-hire job, and the defendant paid the agent $1,500 in cash as a “down payment” on the contract. He told the agent that the sooner he took care of the “demolition job,” the sooner he could pay the rest of the money owed on the contract.
At that second meeting, Marenghi provided the agent with a picture of his wife and a detailed description of her car and license plate number. He told her where she worked, her hours there, and the custody schedule for the couple’s children. He told the agent precisely the “best time for the construction work to start.”
Court documents filed by federal prosecutors indicate that the total agreed price for the murder was $10,000. After the total was agreed upon, the agent asked Marenghi, “You want to get rid of her?”
The defendant immediately replied, “Yeah, I need to eliminate that problem.”
The agent replied, “We can make it look like an accident. It is your call.”
“Yeah, well, I mean obviously that’s the best way,” Marenghi answered him.
Marenghi’s wife was not injured as the result of the crime, meaning the conviction on murder-for-hire carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000.