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Attorney sentenced to 10 years in prison for hiring hitman to kill ex-wife, mother of his children

PIX Now - Morning Edition 4/29/24
PIX Now - Morning Edition 4/29/24 10:56

An attorney who paid someone he thought would arrange to kill his estranged ex-wife and the mother of his children was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison Friday in San Francisco, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Northern District of California.

Allen Gessen, 49, an attorney out of Massachusetts, first came into contact with an undercover FBI agent when he was being investigated for money laundering in the summer of 2022.

Gessen met with the undercover agent twice, and during these meetings, he volunteered information about his years-long dispute with his former partner, Zimbabwean model Priscilla Chigariro, which had resulted in contentious child custody proceedings, according to prosecutors.

Allen Gessen and Priscilla Chigariro
Allen Gessen and Priscilla Chigariro with their two children. Nehanda Radio

Using the connections he thought an undercover agent posing as a criminal might have, Gessen's objectives "quickly transformed from bribing an immigration official to deport his former partner" to "hiring someone to murder her," according to prosecutors.

Gessen had initially negotiated $100,000 for the bribery and deportation scheme but then decided he wanted Chigariro murdered and offered $50,000 to have it carried out.

According to prosecutors, Gessen wanted to kill Chigariro because he said it was "cheaper to get rid of her" and was a more permanent solution. He also wanted full custody of their children. He told the undercover agent that he had previously tried to hire people to kill her, but that they had jacked up their price to $210,000.

Eventually, Gessen wired $23,000 to an undercover FBI bank account in San Francisco in hopes that the murder would be carried out. He also sent the undercover agent an agreement to pay for fake consulting services to cover up the true nature of the funds and wired the agent information about Chigariro's whereabouts, her schedule, and her lifestyle habits.

Gessen was indicted in July 2022 and was charged with one count of murder for hire and was convicted by a jury. He was given 120 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.  

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