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NYPD officer from Oceanside to take plea deal in murder-for-hire plot, sources say

Valerie Cincinelli, an NYPD officer for 12 years,

Valerie Cincinelli, an NYPD officer for 12 years, was suspended without pay after her arrest in 2019.  Credit: Howard Schnapp

An NYPD officer from Oceanside charged with plotting to hire a hit man to kill her estranged husband and the teenage daughter of her boyfriend agreed Friday to accept a plea deal in the case.

The terms of the plea were not revealed Friday during a telephonic hearing at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, but sources familiar with the case said the officer, Valerie Cincinelli, 36, has agreed to plead guilty to a single count of obstruction of justice, which carries a penalty of 46 to 57 months in prison under sentencing guidelines.

In return for her plea, the government has agreed to drop the two other counts Cincinelli was facing, each involving murder-for-hire. Conviction on each of those counts carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, sources said.

Although Cincinelli, her attorney, James Kousouros, and federal prosecutors said they all have agreed to the plea, Cincinelli has not been able to formally sign it.

Kousouros said in court he had not been able to arrange a face-to-face meeting with his client in federal jail in Brooklyn to get her to sign the plea.

Kousouros said he thought he would be able to visit his client in prison by next Friday, so U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein set that day for Cincinelli to make her plea in public.

After the hearing, Kousouros declined to comment.

John Marzulli, spokesman for the Eastern District's prosecutors in the case, Catherine Mirabile and Anthony Bagnuola, also declined to comment.

Cincinelli, an NYPD officer for 12 years, was suspended without pay after her arrest in 2019. She had worked in the 106th Precinct in Queens, but had been on modified assignment without a gun since 2017 because of domestic incidents, an NYPD spokesman has said.

In her modified assignment, Cincinelli had been working in the Viper unit, which monitors surveillance cameras in public housing projects, an NYPD spokesman has said.

Cincinelli was accused of two counts of murder-for-hire and obstruction. She did not want to share her pension with the estranged husband and thought the boyfriend was lavishing too much money and spending too much time with his daughter, instead of with her, Eastern District federal prosecutors have said. The boyfriend eventually cooperated with authorities, officials said.

Prosecutors have said Cincinelli had a "volatile" relationship with both the husband and the boyfriend.

Cincinelli, who was arrested in May 2019, has been denied bail by Feuerstein, who said a psychological investigation showed a "lack of impulse control and remorse and … defensiveness," along with her "alleged [obstructive] conduct in destroying or attempting to destroy evidence before her arrest."

In text messages to the boyfriend, according to prosecutors, Cincinelli complained he was buying his teen daughter "Ugg's and Louis Viutton [sic] handbags … must be nice … Wish I had one … Maybe it's real like the Michael Kors ones you bought her." Cincinelli also complained about his paying for his daughter's "Sephora makeup" and "fake nails every week."

As part of the boyfriend’s cooperation, prosecutors said, he made a tape in which Cincinelli supposedly said the hit man should kill her husband near his Holtsville workplace, saying, "It would not look suspicious because the murder would take place in 'the hood' or 'the ghetto.' "

In another tape, the boyfriend told Cincinelli that in killing the teen, the hit man "did not want to carry out the murder near a school, [Cincinelli] responded '[r]un her the [expletive] over, how about that.' "

Kousouros has said the recordings "show nothing more than a woman venting her frustration at [the boyfriend's] repeated lying regarding her money and where it was spent."

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