Diane Sylvia waited for instructions on how to dispose of the burner phone. The 58-year-old psychotherapist was an unlikely candidate to have one in the first place, but her life started to resemble a plot arc from The Sopranos back in September, when she found out her patient had mob ties. According to a federal complaint that was just unsealed, she asked the man to arrange a hit for her, which eventually led to her arrest by the FBI as she waited to find out if she should throw that burner—a key piece of evidence—off of a bridge.
The FBI's sting operation started on October 6, when the patient brought an undercover agent to her office in Linwood, New Jersey. She explained that her target was a guy who was bilking her for money and had information that could cause her to lose her ability to practice. Apparently she had walked back the whole murder thing by the time of that first meeting.
"He needs his pretty little face bashed in, that's what I want," Sylvia said, according to the complaint. "All he has is his big muscles and his cute face."
The therapist and the agent began texting on the burner phone that she was advised to buy, according to the complaint. At one point, Sylvia seemed like she wanted to call the whole thing off because her patient had stopped showing up for his appointments. She said she'd pay the fake mob enforcer $1,000 for his time, to which he replied that a couple of his buddies had located the target's truck. That tantalizing piece of information was apparently too much to resist. "When now?" she texted the agent. "That changes things."
On October 20, the two met again and discussed options, according to the complaint. Apparently she wasn't into the idea the agent suggested—throwing battery acid on the guy—but said that she'd like his face slashed and permanently scarred, as well as one of his arms broken so that he "can't do push-ups."
After some more bizarre back-and-forth, which included Sylvia saying that the dude she wanted beat up was suddenly coming to visit her, she concluded that she did, in fact, want the assault to go down. On Halloween morning, she met with the undercover agent yet again at her office, this time handing him $4,000—what she thought was half of the total payment. Right after she asked about the burner phone, the feds busted in and handcuffed her.
Sylvia was charged on Monday in Camden, New Jersey, with one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence. She's facing up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted, according to the New York Times. Though she's out on $50,000 bail, it seems pretty clear that her plan backfired. Whether the guy she tried to have brutally assaulted comes forward with more dirt on her or not, it's safe to say she'll probably be losing her license.
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