Former New York City police officer Valerie Cincinelli appeared in federal court in Central Islip on Monday to ask a judge to release her on bail after she was charged in an alleged double murder-for-hire plot against her soon-to-be-ex-husband and a teenage girl.
Cincinelli, of Oceanside, has been in jail since May 17 after her boyfriend, John DiRubba, of Howard Beach, Queens, told the FBI about her plot to murder her estranged husband, Isaiah Carvalho Jr., and DiRubba’s 15- year-old daughter. The FBI arrested Cincinelli after DiRubba, at the direction of authorities, recorded conversations they had about the plot.
U.S. District Court Judge Sandra Feuerstein said Monday that she would examine all the evidence before deciding whether Cincinelli should be released on bail. If she is, she will be required to remain in her Oceanside home and to wear an ankle bracelet.
Her attorney, James Kousouros, of Manhattan, said he was pleased that Feuerstein would review the evidence.
“We are grateful that the court is going to review the material and review the submission in order to get a more complete and contextual view of this case and the evidence,” Kousouros said after the hearing. Earlier this month, he said he believed that as more details emerged, it would “become clear that Ms. Cincinelli never would and never did participate in the conduct that she’s charged with.”
Cincinelli was fired from the NYPD on May 31 in the wake of the allegations after 12 years on the force. That same day, she pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder for hire and one count of obstruction of justice. The obstruction charge stemmed from her alleged destruction of two cellphones and the records they contained in order to impede the investigation, according to the indictment.
The FBI and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau brought the case against Cincinelli, and the Eastern District of New York is prosecuting it. Cincinelli, who turned 35 on June 2 and is the mother of two, has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since her arrest.
Her alleged plan began in February, when she asked DiRubba, 54, to hire a hit man to kill Carvalho, 32, and DiRubba’s daughter, according to the FBI. Carvalho filed for divorce from Cincinelli in January after four years of marriage, which is still pending, and the two were in the middle of a custody battle for their two children, ages 9 and 5. Authorities are also looking into allegations that Cincinelli physically abused her 5-year-old son.
DiRubba told Cincinelli that he would set a plan in motion to carry out the hits for $7,000, but instead went to the FBI. Under the direction of investigators, he continued to hatch a plan with Cincinelli and wore a wire so that their conversations could be recorded.
Authorities informed Carvalho of the alleged plot, and staged photos of him hunched over in a car, surrounded by glass to depict his death. On May 17, investigators from the Suffolk County Police Department came to Cincinelli’s Oceanside home and told her that Carvalho had been murdered, which was a ruse at the direction of the FBI. Under the guise of the hit man, FBI agents also sent a text message to DiRubba, with a picture of the faux murder scene.
Immediately after the police left, Cincinelli called DiRubba to discuss their alibis and told him to delete his text messages. The FBI recorded the call. Later that afternoon, Cincinelli was taken into custody.
Cincinelli’s defense has questioned DiRubba’s credibility as an informant. He was accused of allegedly threatening to shoot a man over a $54,000 diamond ring on Jan. 15, telling him that he had ties to the Gambino crime family, according to the complaint. The case is still pending in Manhattan criminal court.
Calls to DiRubba’s attorney, James McQueeney, were not returned at press time, but DiRubba told the Daily News in a series of text messages that despite turning her in, he still loved Cincinelli, whom he claimed had a split personality.
“After all she has done, and all the damage, I still love her and always will,” DiRubba told the publication. “People need to know there’s two Valeries, and I am sad she’s in jail. Why? Because she needs help ... bipolar disorder, very real. The real Valerie is amazing.”
Carvalho’s attorney, Erica Sakol, declined to comment on the case while it was pending, and said any statements on Carvalho’s behalf would come through her. Carvalho appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in May and shared his disbelief shortly after the alleged plot was revealed.
“I can’t believe it,” he said on the program. “I’m still in shock. I’m still lost over this whole thing, and I’m trying to process everything. . . . We didn’t have, like, a heated custody battle. We were about to reach an agreement, so I don’t see why she would attempt to do this to me.”
If convicted of murder for hire, Cincinelli faces up to 10 years for each count, while obstruction to justice carries a sentence of up to 20 years.