How to Completely Screw Up a Hit-Man Scam in Five Easy Steps

A Las Vegas poker dealer turned himself into a sought-after hit man — who never intended to kill any of his targets.

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Niall Carson / PA Photos / Landov

Essam Eid is led into Dublin, Ireland's Four Courts in 2008.

One woman wanted him to kill her ex-lover’s new girlfriend. Another woman wanted him to kill her boyfriend for trying to control her life and force a lurid sexual tryst. Even a fifth-grade girl wanted him to kill a classmate.

Not that he ever carried out any of these acts, but his website, HitmanForHire.net, had people thinking he could. In truth, Essam Ahmed Eid was nothing but a poker dealer at Bellagio in Las Vegas — and an extortionist — and he wasn’t even good at that. He told people he was sent to kill that he would let them live if they paid what he told them was the balance on the hit. But almost comically, he didn’t even get that right, the Los Angeles Times reported this week.

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The one thing he was good at was appealing to people who wanted their dirty work done for them. So with Eid’s lesson, here’s NewsFeed’s guide on how to screw up a hit-man scam in five easy (and stupid) steps.

1) Create a website with all kinds of badass graphics and text that make you seem threatening and deadly accurate. In Eid’s case, he created HitmanForHire.net, which apparently promised people he could dispose of their enemies for a hefty price. It’s unclear if he offered Groupon deals.

2) Turn to Google for information on killing so you can make yourself look credible. You can research things like how to make a silencer out of old toilet parts; ricin, a poison made from castor beans; and even places you can go to order cyanide. FBI evidence taken from Eid’s computer after a raid showed that he had done such Web research. He even went as far as trying to make ricin, based on Web instructions, and take it overseas.

3) Entertain people of all stripes with a desire to kill people they don’t like. The raid turned up e-mail solicitations from different types of people with chips on their shoulders. A Kentucky fifth-grader wanted him to kill one of her classmates. Others offered Eid their murderous services. One woman wanted to enlist Eid‘s help in committing suicide.

4) Show up to your prey’s home or office ready to make your hit — but without any real intention of doing so. Be equipped with information about the person, your job order and a mysterious female companion to make it seem like a scene from a Coen brothers movie. Eid did just that in 2006 when he arrived at the office of Anne Lauren Royston and announced that he’d been sent to kill her. (NewsFeed note: Most hit men do not announce they have come to kill you. They just kill you.) He then told her she’d have a chance to stay alive; his client, he said, had paid $17,000 to have Royston killed. If she could come up with the balance, he’d let her live. Her deadline was three days. She called the FBI and, per their direction, successfully stalled for more time.

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5) Disappear to another country and wash, rinse, repeat. Eid went to Ireland, where he tried to extort 100,000 euros in much the same way he tried to scam Royster. This time the target was P.J. Harvey, a businessman who lives in coastal Ennis. Turns out Harvey was trying to coerce his girlfriend into a threesome, which drove her to look for a hired killer. Irish police quickly arrested Eid and found in his contact-lens case traces of the ricin he had made. Soon Ireland’s law-enforcement officials were connected with the FBI, and they compared notes, which resulted in a raid at Eid’s Vegas home.

Eid was convicted in Ireland of extortion and burglary but was acquitted of trying to solicit murder. He was sentenced to six years in prison in Ireland, then extradited to the States, where he got a 33-month prison sentence for extortion conspiracy. Currently he is in a federal prison in Mississippi and could be released next year.

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