AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – Officials with the Justice Department say a Texas businessman and three others, including members of the Israeli military and US Marines, accused of conspiring in a murder-for-hire plot have been arrested.

Erik Charles Maund began emailing a woman in February 2020 with whom he’d had a prior relationship and made plans to see her when he planned to visit Nashville, prosecutors say. After his visit, Maund, who is married, received a series of text messages from a man in a romantic relationship with the same woman.

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The couple was identified by the Metro Nashville Police Department as 33-year-old Holly Williams and 36-year-old William Lanway.

Mugshot of Austin auto magnate Erik Charles Maund. (credit: Metro Nashville [Tenn.] PD)

During the text message exchange, Lanway threatened to expose Maund’s relationship with Williams if he did not receive “some kind of monetary payment” to keep quiet, according to an indictment unveiled December 13.

Maund allegedly enlisted Gilad Peled, Byron Brockway and Adam Carey to assist with the extortion threats. Peled purported himself as a former member of the Israel Defense Forces, Brockway is a former active-duty US Marine and Carey previously served in the Marine Corps’ Special Operations Group, according to the Justice Department.

They are charged in a three-count indictment with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death, and carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. An attorney was not listed for each of the accused murder-for-hire suspects, according to online records. If convicted, they face up to life in prison.

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The plot against Lanway and Williams began around March 5, 2020, when Maund withdrew $15,000 from his bank account and an “intelligence report” was prepared and provided to Peled “by a relative of Brockway who worked for an internet-based security company,” according to the indictment.

Six days later, Maund wired $150,000 in cash to an account controlled by Peled while Brockway and Carey, armed with guns, confronted the couple at an apartment complex, according to the indictment. Lanway, the alleged extortionist, was shot dead, and Williams allegedly was kidnapped by Brockway and Carey. They drove in a rental car with Lanway’s dead body to a construction site and then shot Williams to death, according to the indictment.

Sometime after the murders, Maund transferred nearly $750,000 to Peled, who paid the others for the kidnapping and murder of the couple, prosecutors allege.

Maund was arrested in Austin during a traffic stop. The other men were arrested by FBI agents and the Metro Nashville Police in various locations across the country. All will make initial appearances before US magistrate judges in the districts where they were arrested and will be returned to Tennessee at a later date for further proceedings, according to the Justice Department.

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CBSDFW.com Staff