A former New York City police officer from Long Island pled guilty Friday to obstruction of justice after authorities said she tried to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband and boyfriend’s teenage daughter.
U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert presided over Valerie Cincinelli’s appearance in Central Islip federal court after Judge Sandra Feuerstein, who was originally assigned the case, died in a hit-and-run in Florida last week. Cincinelli, who is from Oceanside, admitted that she “deleted images on iPhones” and participated in misconduct that interfered with the investigation on May 17, 2019, when she was arrested.
“I know what I did was wrong,” she said, “and I am truly sorry.”
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop two murder for hire charges against Cincinelli, who is currently being held without bail. She faces 46 to 57 months in federal prison for the obstruction of justice charges.
Seybert set Cincincelli’s sentencing for Oct. 29. Cincinelli’s attorney, James Kousouros, then made his case for her release until that time. When asked how long she’d been in jail, Cincinelli responded, crying, “For two years. I haven’t seen my son.”
Anthony Bagnuola, the assistant U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of New York who is prosecuting the case, stated that there are “serious factors weighing against release.” The judge agreed to review a bail application and see evidence for both sides.
In the alleged murder-for-hire plot, Cincinelli allegedly asked an informant to hire a hit man for the two murders in February 2019 and the informant tipped off the FBI. An agent then posed as the hit man, contacting Cincinelli under the guise of having murdered her ex by texting her a photo of what appeared to be the crime scene, according to investigators.
Cincinelli allegedly paid the informant $7,000 for the pair of murders, but the informant later told her that the “hit man” wanted another $3,000 to go through with it, authorities said. The FBI used wiretaps as a part of the investigation, recording the suspect discussing her alibi with the informant as well as her directions for the alleged hit.
Kousouros again denied the murder for hire charges on Friday when asking for Cincelli’s release.
-With Timothy Bolger
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