September 16, 2014

Murder-for-Hire Plot Uncovered

Subject Wanted Out of $8 Million Debt

Hitman (stock photo)

It’s a novel way to have your debt forgiven—hire a hit man to kill your creditor. However, it’s also illegal. Just ask the Illinois businessman who recently received a federal prison term for attempting to arrange such a murder.

Daniel Dvorkin, a commercial real estate professional, had taken out business loans a number of years ago. When the economy took a downturn around 2008, Dvorkin’s businesses took a hit, and he was unable to pay back those loans to the bank. Eventually, his loans were bought out by a Texas businessman and his company, which sued Dvorkin in civil court, winning an $8.2 million judgment against Dvorkin and two of his companies in February 2012.

On April 2, 2012, both sides sat down to mediation, trying to find some middle ground regarding the judgment and a dollar amount both parties could live with. But it failed.

Three days later, Dvorkin called an acquaintance and asked to meet the next day at Dvorkin’s office in Oakbrook Terrace, a Chicago suburb. When this individual came to the office, Dvorkin walked him outside and asked for help with finding a hit man. Giving his acquaintance a copy of the judgment order and two Internet documents clearly identifying the intended victim as the Texas businessman, Dvorkin said he wanted his target to “stop breathing.”

They discussed specifics: Dvorkin had $35,000 in untraceable cash saved and could come up with another $15,000 to pay upfront; he would then pay another $50,000 after the murder. He told his acquaintance he could arrange for a flight on a private jet so the hit man’s name wouldn’t appear on any commercial flight records. And he indicated that he would want to be out the country when the murder occurred so he wouldn’t be a suspect.

Dvorkin also explained that he was currently appealing the judgment order and thought that if the Texas businessman did not or could not respond to the appeal, the funds wouldn’t have to be paid out.

How do we know what Dvorkin said during this conversation? Because several days after it took place, the acquaintance contacted the Oakbrook Terrace Police Department and reported Dvorkin’s attempt to solicit a murder. Oakbrook police then contacted the FBI’s West Resident Agency—a satellite of our Chicago office—and our investigators reached out to the acquaintance, who readily agreed to consensually monitor any related future conversations with Dvorkin.

Over the next few weeks, and at the behest of law enforcement, the acquaintance-turned-cooperating witness called and met with Dvorkin several times, following up on their April 6 conversation and moving the plot ahead. But during a meeting on May 7, Dvorkin told our witness that he had hired another hit man—one who only charged somewhere in the $20,000 range and only needed a 10 percent down payment. The FBI, concerned by this turn of events, immediately contacted the intended victim in Texas and arranged for protection for him and his family. Investigators also approached Dvorkin that same day, letting him know they were aware of his murder-for-hire plot—without giving away the identity of the cooperating witness.

After further investigation and collection of additional evidence, Dvorkin was arrested on July 5, 2012. And in August 2013, after a five-day trial, a jury found him guilty—most likely due to Dvorkin’s own incriminating words captured on court-authorized recordings.