An NYPD officer from Oceanside pleaded not guilty on Friday in federal court in Central Islip to charges that she was involved in a murder-for-hire plot to kill her ex-husband and her boyfriend’s daughter, who is a minor.
Valerie Cincinelli, 34, was charged with two counts of murder-for-hire and one count of obstruction of justice. The indictment labels Cincinelli’s targets as John Doe and Jane Doe, but her ex-husband was later found to be Isaiah Carvalho Jr., 32.
The obstruction of justice charge stems from Cincinelli allegedly destroying two cell phones and the records that they contain as a way to impede the investigation, according to the indictment.
Cincinelli’s attorney, James Kousouros, of Manhattan, told the Herald after her plea that there was more to the story than the details that have been brought to light.
“Our investigation has begun,” he said, “and as the facts really emerge here as to what occurred, we believe that it will become clear that Ms. Cincinelli never would and never did participate in the conduct that she’s charged with. She’s entitled to the presumption of innocence and we should not forget that she’s a decorated veteran of the Police Department with no criminal record.”
A key person who led to the FBI’s charges against Cincinelli was labeled “CS,” meaning confidential source, according to court documents. He was later identified as John DiRubba, 54, of Howard Beach, Queens, who is the defendant in a separate grand larceny case, according to the Daily News
The FBI and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau brought the case against Cincinelli, who is a mother of two, and the Eastern District of New York is prosecuting.
Cincinelli’s alleged plan began in February, when she asked DiRubba to hire a hitman to kill Carvalho and his own daughter, according to the FBI. Carvalho filed for divorce from Cincinelli in January after four years of marriage, and the two were in the middle of a custody battle. The reason Cincinelli wanted DiRubba’s 15-year-old daughter out of the picture was because she impeded her spending time with him, according to the New York Post.
DiRubba told Cincinelli that he would set a plan in motion, to carry out the hits, 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.
On May 17, investigators from the Suffolk County Police Department came to Cincinelli’s Oceanside home and said that her ex-husband was murdered, which was a ruse formed under the direction of the FBI. Under the guise of the hitman, FBI agents sent a text message to DiRubba, with a picture that was meant to show the 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 and the court ordered that she remain in prison while until the case is heard.
Cincinelli was assigned to the 106th Precinct in Queens in 2007. She has been working modified assignments since 2017, according to police, such as being assigned to a unit that monitors surveillance feeds in public housing developments after several domestic incidents — including one in which she lost her badge and gun after visiting an ex-boyfriend’s house while on duty. Cincinelli has two ex-husbands, each of whom filed restraining orders against her, and she filed one against Carvalho.
DiRubba has his own legal issues to worry about, as he has been accused of allegedly threatening to shoot a man over a $54,000 diamond ring on Jan. 15. The case is pending.
On Friday, Federal Magistrate Gary Brown ordered that Cincinelli remain in prison without bond, where she has been held since her arrest on May 17 and deemed a danger to the community. She is due to appear in court again on June 26.
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.