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East Aurora woman pleads guilty to trying to hire a hit man

An East Aurora woman has pleaded guilty to attempting to hire a hit man on the dark web to cripple her boyfriend.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Yanyan Lesser, 48, pleaded guilty in federal court to transmitting in interstate or foreign commerce a communication containing a threat to injure another person. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Authorities said it was Valentine's Day 2019 when Lesser posted the online message that she wanted her boyfriend to be given "a good beating" that puts him in a wheelchair or on crutches for life. These messages continued for almost a week.

The reason was because of a business dispute - a robbery, she called it. On multiple occasions later, authorities say Lesser transferred more than $7,000 in bitcoins and made cash withdrawals to pay for the beating. Authorities did not identify the person she was trying to hire.

The plea is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance by HSI in St. Paul, MI and Orlando, FL. Lesser will be sentenced Dec. 4 before Skretny.