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Elma woman charged with trying to hire hit man to maim her ex

An Elma woman wanted her former boyfriend beaten so badly his legs and waist would break and he would be crippled.

A complaint in U.S. District court alleges the woman, Yanyan Lesser, 47, went on the dark web to find someone willing to carry out the assault.

She instructed the hit man to "give him a good beating" and said that it needed to look like a robbery, according to court papers.

Lesser is now facing a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. She is charged with transmitting in interstate or foreign commerce a communication containing a threat to injure another person.

The case came to light between Feb. 14 and Feb. 19, when Homeland Security Investigations in St. Paul, Minn., received information that a person with the moniker "TREE I" was conspiring with an unknown individual to harm the former boyfriend, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie O. Lamarque, who is handling the case.

Some of the communications included instructions on what was to be done to the man, including: "Because of a business dispute, I would like to give this guy a lesson: give him a good beating and legs broken, waist broken and even cripple the mark of his legs," according to the criminal complaint.

Other directions to the purported assailant said, "I will add $2,500 more to cover the cost of beating, crippling and robbery look like job. Please remember must be ... like a ROBBERY! That's very important!"

And TREE I also told the hit man that the victim does not speak or understand English: "So when hit man to do the job with crippling and looking like robbery, Remember to Yelled at that Chinese guy: "MONEY! MONEY! Because that's only the English word that guy can understand."

The complaint alleges that TREE I made two transfers of Bitcoin totaling $7,285 to an address on the dark web to facilitate the assault. Another communication included a photograph of an unknown person's lower back area with the words "broken waist" written across it, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Homeland Security investigators in Orlando, Fla., where the ex-boyfriend lives, interviewed him at his home Feb. 20. He said he was not aware of any threat against him, but he believed his former girlfriend was unstable and would be capable of doing something like that.

Further investigation, including a review of cellphone and bank records determined that TREE I is Lesser, according to prosecutors.

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