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NYPD officer from Oceanside to plead guilty in murder-for-hire plot

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A New York City police officer from Oceanside who was charged with plotting to hire a hit man to kill her estranged husband and her boyfriend’s teenage daughter has agreed to plead guilty to one of the charges she is facing.

Though the terms of the plea deal were undisclosed at press time, Valerie Cincinelli, 36, will plead guilty to a single count of obstruction of justice, for which she faces 46 to 57 months in prison. In exchange for the plea, the government will drop the two murder-for-hire counts that Cincinelli faced, each of which carried a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Cincinelli’s attorney, James Kousouros, did not respond to a request for comment on the plea agreement. Cincinelli was unable to sign the deal, but was expected to by Friday, after the Herald went to press. The last time he spoke with the Herald, in June 2019, Kousouros said that if the case went to trial, it would “become clear that Ms. Cincinelli never would and never did participate in the conduct that she’s charged with.”

John Marzulli, a spokesman for the Eastern District’s prosecutors in the case, said he would not comment on the plea deal, but confirmed that Cincinelli was set to enter a plea.

Cincinelli was arrested in May 2019, and pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder for hire, for the plot to kill her estranged husband, Isaiah Carvalho Jr., and her boyfriend, John DiRubba’s, teenage daughter, and one count of obstruction of justice. The obstruction charge stemmed from her alleged destruction of cellphones to interfere with the authorities’ investigation. She has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn without bond since her arrest.

After her arrest, U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein denied Cincinelli’s request for bond, saying she was a danger to the subjects of the alleged plot and the community, while noting she showed a “lack of impulse control and remorse.”

Federal prosecutors have said Cincinelli had a “volatile” relationship with Carvalho and DiRubba, and that DiRubba had allegedly originally agreed to hire a hit man to murder Carvalho before changing his mind, notifying authorities and cooperating in their investigation.

Prosecutors said Cincinelli was angry about having to share her NYPD pension with Carvalho in their pending divorce, and jealous of DiRubba’s daughter because of the time she spent with her father and the expensive gifts he bought for her.

Cincinelli’s alleged plan was hatched in February 2019, a month after Carvalho filed for divorce after four years of marriage, which sparked a custody battle between the two over their two children.

According to authorities, DiRubba told Cincinelli that he would put a plan in motion to carry out the hits for $7,000, but instead went to the FBI. Kousouros has alleged Cincinelli gave DiRubba $7,000 to purchase gold coins, not to hire a hit man.

Under the direction of investigators, DiRubba continued to plot with Cincinelli, and wore a wire so their conversations could be recorded. In one taped recording that he made as part of his cooperation, Cincinelli allegedly 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?’”

On May 17, 2019, the FBI staged Carvalho’s death and then Suffolk County police came to Cincinelli’s Oceanside home to inform her of her estranged husband’s death, and the FBI staged photos of a faux crime scene as part of the ruse. Immediately after police left, Cincinelli allegedly called DiRubba to discuss their alibis and told him to delete his text messages. The FBI recorded the call. Later that afternoon, Cincinelli was arrested.

Upon her arrest, Cincinelli was immediately suspended without pay from the NYPD after 12 years on the force, which is her current status. She had worked in the 106th Precinct in Queens, but had been on modified assignment without a gun since 2017 after a series of domestic incidents.