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posted: 4/13/2012 3:22 PM

Algonquin attorney faces 10 years in murder for hire plot

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An Algonquin attorney has admitted to plotting to hire someone to kill his girlfriend's ex-husband.

Jason W. Smiekel, 30, pleaded guilty this week in federal court in Rockford to using an interstate facility, that being his cellphone, in the scheme.

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He faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine when he is sentenced July 17.

U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala accepted the plea agreement.

Smiekel was arrested last August in Elgin after giving a $7,000 partial payment to an undercover agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Authorities said the intended target was the ex-husband of Smiekel's girlfriend. Smiekel also handled her divorce case.

In court documents, Smiekel admitted to searching for a hitman in July 2011, asking someone if he knew anyone who would commit a murder for hire. The person gave Smiekel the cellphone number of the undercover agent.

Smiekel offered $20,000 to have the ex-husband killed and gave the agent $1,500 and a photo of the man on Aug. 2, 2011.

"The cash was intended to be used to pay for the undercover agent's expenses in making the contract killing. Defendant agreed to pay the rest of the money for the murder at a later time," court documents state,

ATF officials also have said that the ex-husband, who was not injured, had damaging information about Smiekel, who has since lost his law license as well.

A phone message left for defense attorney Ralph Meczyk was not immediately returned.

A message left for Randall Samborn, the U.S. Department of Justice spokesman, was not immediately returned.

Smiekel must serve at least 85 percent of any sentenced issued by Kapala.

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