A New York Police Department officer has been charged with plotting to kill her estranged husband, the result of an elaborate sting operation by investigators using a fake photo of his slaying. Valerie Cincinelli, an NYPD officer since 2007 and a mother of two, was held without bail Friday following her arrest on federal murder-for-hire charges.
A criminal complaint accuses her of asking a confidential FBI informant to help her find someone to kill the husband and a minor whose identities weren't made public. Sources tell CBS New York the minor is the 15-year-old daughter of her current boyfriend, who identified himself as the confidential informant to the New York Daily News on Sunday.
"My heart is destroyed," the boyfriend, John DiRubba, 54, told the paper. "I can't even think straight now. I can't come to terms that a mother of two, a police officer ... wanted to harm my daughter."
DiRubba said he pretended to go along with Cincinelli's plan, but instead went to authorities. But speaking to CBS New York, Cincinelli's father called the boyfriend a "wacko psycho."
"There's no doubt that he manipulated multiple conversations to come up with his statements," Lou Cincinelli said. "He's very smart, but he's a pathological liar and there's something wrong with his brain."
Court papers do not describe Cincinelli's alleged motive. They say Cincinelli allegedly made a $7,000 cash withdrawal from a bank in Long Island in February and gave it to the informant, who said he would convert it to gold coins to pay the hit man. The two discussed the alleged plot over the course of several months, the court papers say, and Cincinelli allegedly discussed having the hit man kill the teen and then wait a week or a month to kill her husband.
Cincinelli allegedly discussed having the hit man kill her husband near his workplace where he sells fireworks in Holtsville, New York, and said that it would appear as a robbery because of cash he had on him from the firework sales. According to court papers, when the informant told her the hit man did not want to kill the teen near her New Jersey school, Cincinelli replied: "Run her the f---over, how about that."
After a local detective went to Cincinelli's Long Island home on Friday to make a phony notification that her husband had been found murdered, the informant recorded her cooking up an alibi, the papers say.
Later in the morning, "an FBI agent, posing as the hitman, sent a text message to the (informant) which included a photograph of the defendant's estranged husband appearing dead in his car," the papers say, along with a demand for another $3,000 to kill the teen. "In response, Cincinelli instructed the (informant) to delete the text messages and photographs, citing her fear that law enforcement could subpoena the phone."
Court papers say Cincinelli and her estranged husband had orders of protections against each other, and that she knew the informant from their own "volatile" romantic history. Before her arrest, the NYPD had put her on desk duty for breaking various department rules, they add. She was ordered suspended after the arrest, reports CBS New York.
The officer's attorney, Tracey Gaffey, declined on Friday to discuss the case.
Cincinelli cried as she appeared before a federal judge in Central Islip Friday afternoon, the station reports. Her legal aid attorney argued for bail, citing 12 years with the NYPD, but the judge reportedly ordered Cincinelli held, citing very strong evidence of guilt in the case.