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Manhattan U.S. Attorney and FBI Assistant Director in Charge Announce Arrest of New Jersey Resident for Kidnapping Conspiracy

U.S. Attorney’s Office January 04, 2013
  • Southern District of New York (212) 637-2600

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), today announced the arrest of Michael Vanhise for conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Vanhise allegedly agreed to pay co-conspirator Gilberto Valle, who was an active-duty New York City Police Officer at the time, to kidnap a woman in New York (the “victim”) and to bring her to his home in New Jersey, where she would be raped. He also allegedly participated in planning the kidnapping of a female minor. Vanhise was arrested by FBI special agents this morning at his residence in Hamilton, New Jersey, and will be presented later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck in Manhattan federal court.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As alleged in the complaint, Michael Vanhise engaged in conduct that reads like a script for a bad horror film but fortunately, neither he nor his co-conspirators were able to act out the twisted conspiracies described in the complaint in real-life. His arrest today is the second in this bone-chilling case, but we are not finished.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos said, “The seriousness of the alleged conspiracy is self-evident. No effort to characterize the defendant’s actions is necessary. The factual allegations more than suffice to convey the depravity of the offense.”

According to the allegations in the complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court and other public documents:

In a February 2012 e-mail conversation, Vanhise and Valle negotiated and agreed that Valle would kidnap the victim for $5,000. In those conversations, Vanhise and Valle planned for Valle to render the victim unconscious, bind her hands and feet, gag her, stuff her into a large suitcase, and deliver her to Vanhise’s home. Valle assured Vanhise that the victim would be delivered alive so that he could rape her.

Vanhise also e-mailed photographs of a female minor, whom Vanhise knew well, to other co-conspirators (“CC-2” and “CC-3”). CC-2 and CC-3 both expressed interest in kidnapping the child, and Vanhise provided them with the purported address of the girl, which was in close proximity to the girl’s actual home address.

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Vanhise, 23, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss from the offense.

Valle, 28, of Forest Hills, New York, was charged in October 2012 with one count of kidnapping conspiracy and one count of intentionally and knowingly accessing a computer without authorization and exceeding his authorized access, and thereby obtaining information from a department and agency of the United States. His case remains pending.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI. He added that the investigation is continuing.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Hadassa Waxman and Randall W. Jackson are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges against Vanhise and Valle are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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