Lawyer guilty of trying to hire undercover San Francisco FBI agent to murder mother of his children

A Massachusetts man has been convicted of attempting to hire an undercover FBI agent in a failed plot to murder the mother of his children, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Allen Gessen, 48, made a deal to pay an undercover FBI agent a total of $50,000 to murder the mother of his children in an attempt to gain custody of his children, according to FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Tripp who announced the jury verdict along with United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey.

Investigators say Gessen, who was a licensed attorney, was already the target of the FBI looking into possible money laundering. During meetings, he volunteered details about a contentious split and child custody fight with the mother of his children. 

Gessen also traded messages with investigators showing that he plotted to bribe an immigration officer to have the woman deported, but eventually decided instead to have her killed because it would be a "cheaper way to get rid of her." 

Officials said Gessen told the agent he hired a hit team from another country and paid them $10,000 for the plot. After their reconnaissance, the hit team asked for an extra $210,000 to complete the plan, at which point Gessen withdrew because of the cost.

Gessen gave the agent a gold coin worth around $2,000 and wired the rest to a San Francisco bank account, sending forms of fake "consulting services" to hide the real reason of the payment. He also provided information to the agent about his former partner's whereabouts, schedule and lifestyle habits. 

Evidence shown at trial established that Gessen paid the undercover FBI agent half of the money as a deposit and told the agent the remaining will be given after her murder. 

The undercover agent was introduced to Gessen during the summer of 2022. They met in Boca Raton, Florida and New York City where Gessen told the agent he was dealing with a "years-long dispute" with his ex over the children. 

Gessen faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine once sentenced.

O. Gloria Okorie is a digital reporter for KTVU. Email O. Gloria at or call her at 510-874-0175. Follow her on Twitter @ogloriaokorie.