A federal judge in Charlotte sentenced 28-year-old Bryant Budi to 78 months in prison, according to a Justice Department statement. Budi and his roommate had been at odds for more than a year before he went online to hire a hit man in spring 2018, court documents obtained by news outlets revealed.
Budi alleged he wanted to kill his roommate, a friend who had become homeless and moved in with him, because the man threatened to kill Budi's family if he didn't give him money, an affidavit from Christopher Nasca of the Department of Homeland Security showed. Budi offered $4,000 to an undercover investigator posing as a hit man, prosecutors said.
“My enemy that I am trying to get has been making my life a living hell and extorting me for a year now,” Budi said in an April 2018 email to the agent. “Basically make it look like robbery went wrong,” he added.
Budi later returned to the illegal online marketplace to shop for radioactive material himself, prosecutors said. Another undercover FBI employee posing as a seller shipped him a placebo powder. Budi also admitted in emails he tried to poison the roommate before but the man had thrown it up.
In June 2018, federal agents arrested Budi. He pleaded guilty to attempted possession of radioactive material with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury to another person, the first case of its kind in the federal courts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte told news outlets. The maximum sentence was life in prison.