An NYPD officer from Oceanside who was charged with allegedly hiring a hit man to murder her estranged husband and the teenage daughter of her boyfriend was denied bail and will head to trial on April 20.
Valerie Cincinelli, 35, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and her trial is expected to last two weeks. Federal prosecutors have said that Cincinelli had “a volatile” relationship with her husband, Isaiah Carvalho Jr., and her boyfriend, John DiRubba, of Queens. DiRubba had allegedly originally agreed to hire a hit man and carry out the murder plot against Carvalho before changing his mind, notifying authorities and cooperating in their investigation.
Prosecutors have said that Cincinelli was unhappy about having to share her pension from the NYPD with her estranged husband, and was jealous of the time and money that DiRubba spent on his daughter.
Cincinelli’s attorney, James Kousouros, of Manhattan, did not respond to a request for comment, but told the Herald in June 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.”
In addition to the double murder plot, Cincinelli has been charged with obstruction for allegedly destroying cell phones as a way to interfere with the authorities’ investigation. She has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn without bond since being arrested on May 17. U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein denied Cincinelli’s request for bond, saying that she was a danger to the subjects of the alleged plot as well as the community, and noted that she shows a “lack of impulse control and remorse.”
Cincinelli was suspended without pay 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 FBI and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau brought the case against Cincinelli, and the Eastern District of New York is prosecuting it.
Cincinelli’s 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.
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. In one of the taped recordings the boyfriend also made as part of his cooperation, Cincinelli supposedly said the hit man should kill her estranged husband near his Holtsville place of work, saying, “it would not look suspicious because the murder would take place in ‘the hood’ or ‘the ghetto.’” In another, DiRubba told Cincinelli that in the case of killing the teen, the hit man did not want to carry out the murder near a school, and Cincinelli responded, “run her the f--k over, how about that.’”
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. Carvalho’s attorney, Erica Sakol, told the Herald in June that she would not comment on the case while it is pending, and said any statements on Carvalho’s behalf would come through her.
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.