New York attorney accused of hiring hitman to kill Zimbabwean ex-wife sentenced

Francis Akhalbey May 03, 2024
Allen Gessen is accused of hiring a hitman to kill his estranged ex-wife and mother of his children -- Photo: Nehanda Radio

A 49-year-old New York attorney was on April 26 sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for paying a supposed hitman to kill his estranged ex-wife and mother of his children, the U.S. Department of Justice Northern District of California announced. 

According to CBS News, the individual Allen Gessen made arrangements with for the murder of his ex-wife Priscilla Chigariro was an undercover FBI agent who had posed as a criminal. Chigariro is a Zimbabwean model.

In a statement, authorities said Gessen – a New York-licensed attorney – was handed the prison sentence after he was found guilty of one count of murder for hire. His conviction also came after a federal jury indicted him of the charge on July 26, 2022.

Authorities said Gessen was introduced to the undercover FBI agent “by a target of a separate FBI investigation into violations of international money laundering.” The statement said that the convicted man and the undercover FBI agent met on two different occasions in the summer of 2022, adding that those meetings happened in Boca Raton, Florida, and New York City. 

During those meetings, authorities said Gessen provided information about a years-long dispute between him and Chigariro that had caused “contentious child custody proceedings.” 

“At these meetings and through a series of encrypted electronic messages, Gessen initiated plans to commit two different crimes utilizing the undercover FBI agent’s connections,” the statement said. 

“The evidence at trial established that over the course of the investigation, Gessen’s objectives quickly transformed from bribing an immigration official to deport his former partner to hiring someone to murder her.”

Authorities said Gessen ultimately decided to murder his ex-wife and mother of his children because that was a “‘cheaper way to get rid of her’ and was a more permanent solution.” Gessen subsequently wired an amount totaling $23,000 to an FBI undercover bank account in San Francisco to facilitate the hit on his ex-wife.

“Around the same time, Gessen also sent to the undercover FBI agent a written agreement containing a promise to pay for phony ‘consulting services’ as a method to disguise the true nature of the funds,” the statement said.

“Gessen also provided to the undercover FBI agent a target package containing details about his former partner’s whereabouts, schedule, and lifestyle habits.”

Besides the prison sentence, the judge also ordered Gessen to serve three years of supervised release after he completes his prison term. 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 3, 2024

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