William John Wallace is charged with premeditated attempted murder and two counts of solicitation to commit murder.
The suspect shares a 4-year-old daughter with his ex-wife. Both parties were in the midst of a child support and custody battle hearing following their divorce.
Orange County Sheriff's deputies say Wallace allegedly hired a private investigator in August 2013 to try and find negative information about his ex-wife that could be used against her in court.
"He trusted his private investigator who he hired to basically dig up dirt on his child support case against his ex-wife, and he mentioned that it would be, you know, probably cheaper if he murdered her," said prosecutor Heather Brown.
In September 2013, Wallace told the private investigator that he wanted his ex-wife to be killed.
A month later, the suspect asked the private investigator if he knew anyone who would murder his ex-wife and dispose of her body. That's when the private investigator contacted police, who set up a sting operation.
On Saturday, Wallace met with an undercover detective who he believed could facilitate the murder and offered him $30,000 to kill his ex-wife. Wallace showed the undercover detective a photograph of his ex-wife so that she could be identified.
Wallace allegedly asked that the murder take place after Dec. 23 because he would be leaving the country for Christmas. Wallace had a plane ticket to travel to England and $4,000 in cash when he was arrested Saturday.
Wallace will remain behind bars as he awaits his arraignment on Dec. 31. A judge denied bail Monday, deeming the suspect a flight risk and danger to the community. Wallace was also asked to turn over his passport.
"There is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has threatened great bodily harm and that there is likelihood the defendant should carry out that threat if released, so right now, at least temporarily, I feel there is justification to hold the defendant without bail," the judge said.
Brown says the defendant claimed that he had used or hired a hitman three times before. It remains unclear if that involved this case or other cases.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department is investigating this incident.
If convicted, Wallace faces up to 26 years to life in state prison.