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Pinellas County inmate accused of conspiring to kill witnesses involved in trial

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Posted at 9:17 AM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 09:17:02-04

A Pinellas County inmate has been accused of conspiring to have witnesses in a trial against her, killed. 

Priscilla Ann Ellis, 51, is currently in the Pinellas County Jail awaiting sentencing after she was found guilty of wire fraud and money laundering on October 21, 2016. 

According to the affidavit, Ellis approached another inmate about starting another counterfeit check scheme in Africa and also asked if the other inmate knew anyone who "could get their hands dirty" and went on to say that she wanted some people "taken care of."

The inmate told Ellis that they knew someone who could kill the people involved in the case, and would ask that person, their cousin, if $800 each was enough to get the job done. The inmate contacted a lawyer, who then notified the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

A criminal complaint was filed on October 31, 2016 in federal court for "retaliating against witness victim" after FBI investigators got involved and wired the inmate that Ellis was communicating with. 

During a phone call initiated by the inmate, the FBI undercover employee pretended to be the inmate's cousin whom the inmate told Ellis would carry out the murders of the mother of one witness and another witness. 

Investigators say Ellis said that she wanted the mother of one witness to receive a "Columbian necktie" in order to "send a message" to the witness. She also told them that the second witness had a 9-year-old child and if they had to kill the child in order to kill the mother, then they needed to "do what we got to do."

Ellis remains in the Pinellas County Jail.