A Frederick woman pleaded guilty yesterday in a murder-for-hire scheme that prosecutors say she plotted after her elderly employer discovered she had stolen $100,000 from him.
Doris Jean Prevost, 47, of Frederick, had worked for two years as a home companion for the ailing wife of Austin E. Kemp Sr., 84, until her death last fall. After Mr. Kemp turned down Prevost's request for a $35,000 loan, she used a handwritten deposit slip to withdraw $100,000 from his account at Fredericktown Bank and Trust Co., according to a statement of facts filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
Within a month, Mr. Kemp discovered that the money had been withdrawn and notified officials at the bank and the FBI. Prevost then tried to hire someone to kill Mr. Kemp, the statement of facts said.
As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Prevost yesterday pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a witness, for the scheme to silence Mr. Kemp. In exchange, prosecutors dropped several other counts of bank fraud, witness tampering and solicitation to commit a violent crime.
She could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $250,000 when sentenced by U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson on July 15, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph L. Evans.
According to a court affidavit:
The murder-for-hire scheme surfaced when FBI Agent Stephen Tidwell received a tip that Prevost was interested in hiring a killer. He posed as a hitman, and the tipster carried messages between the two.
Prevost's messages included instructions to make it appear that the killing occurred during a robbery or burglary at Mr. Kemp's home in Frederick. Mr. Kemp was not to suffer. Afterward, his body was to be put in the trunk of his car, which would be left at a Metro station.
The hitman also was to leave a copy of a bogus $35,000 loan agreement supposedly signed by Mr. Kemp and Prevost, as well as a phony letter supposedly written by Mr. Kemp, acknowledging that he had authorized the $100,000 withdrawal.
In a meeting with the undercover agent behind a Frederick mall in February, Prevost gave him a $1,000 diamond ring and agreed to pay a total of $1,500 for the job.