You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 12, 2020

Federal Inmate Charged with Plotting to Hire Hitman to Kill Informant and then Kill Prosecutor

Greenville, South Carolina --- United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr., announced today that a federal grand jury has indicted Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate Richard Gilbert in connection with a murder-for-hire plot.  According to the indictment, Gilbert, who was serving time at a federal prison in Edgefield for trafficking methamphetamine in Bowling Green, Kentucky, sought to hire a hitman to kill the federal prosecutor and a key witness from his Kentucky case.

The charges stem from an undercover operation during which Gilbert, from a contraband cell phone in prison, communicated with an undercover task force officer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who was posing as a hitman.  According to the indictment, following multiple recorded phone calls, Gilbert sent the undercover officer a $2,000 check from his prison canteen account as a down payment for the retaliatory murder-for-hire.  Masking the true purpose of this payment, Gilbert attempted to mislead BOP officials by misrepresenting the payment as being for an “investment firm.”

“Those who seek violent retribution on law enforcement and individuals who assist law enforcement will held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney McCoy. “Violence is a plague on our society that can only be cured with the faithful commitment of dedicated law enforcement officers and prosecutors. We must remember that they put their lives on the line every day to ensure the laws of our society are applied.”

Gilbert is charged with murder-for-hire, retaliation against an informant, and money laundering.  According to the indictment, Gilbert drew maps of where he believed the witness from Kentucky lived and provided direction to the undercover officer, posing as the hitman, on how to avoid detection by nearby surveillance cameras.  The Indictment further alleged that Gilbert, who owns several pieces of real property in Kentucky, planned to use the income from two of his rental properties to facilitate the attempted murder-for-hire and retaliation plot—and additionally had plans to use the value of his ownership stake in other land to pay for the murder of the federal prosecutor from Kentucky.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the BOP Special Operations Response Team and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jim May, Justin Holloway, and Will Jordan.

The United States Attorney stated all charges in this case are merely accusations at this stage, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

#####

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982
Updated November 12, 2020