FBI-Ukraine Cooperation Helps Secure Conviction in U.S. Murder-for-Hire Case

Posted by: Daniel Cisek, Deputy Press Attaché

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The FBI recently concluded a successful investigation and prosecution of U.S. citizen Edgar J. Steele for charges stemming from his attempts to hire a hitman to kill his wife in 2008. The FBI’s investigation determined Steele hired Larry Fairfax, a handyman, to place a bomb in Cyndi Steele’s vehicle. When the bomb failed to detonate, Steele discussed with Fairfax his desire for his wife to die in a car accident.  Fairfax eventually brought the plot to the attention of local authorities and the FBI. Department of Justice prosecutors believed Steele’s motive for the plot involved his desire to have a new wife without losing portions of his assets in a divorce settlement.  The FBI investigation determined Steele was looking for his new wife in Ukraine. Because of the case’s connection to Ukraine, U.S.-based investigators sought assistance from the FBI’s Legal Attaché’s office in Kyiv and the Legal Attaché’s contacts with Ukrainian law enforcement authorities.

As part of the evidence collected in the case, U.S.-based FBI agents recovered information that Steele was using on-line dating websites to find a new wife.  When Steele’s dating interests appeared to include several women in Ukraine, the FBI’s Legal Attaché office in Kyiv worked with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) to identify and interview one of the women in contact with Steele. Working with little information, the Legal Attaché’s MVD contacts were able to locate and interview the woman who provided information corroborating the prosecution’s theory that Steele was actively seeking a new wife.   Continue reading “FBI-Ukraine Cooperation Helps Secure Conviction in U.S. Murder-for-Hire Case”