FBI: New York Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Role in 2007 Connecticut Home Invasion

FBI District of Connecticut-(ENEWSPF)- David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Emanuel Nicolescu, 32, formerly of Ridgewood, New York, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to 240 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his participation in a 2007 Connecticut home invasion.

“This lengthy sentence is appropriate for a defendant who participated in a violent home invasion,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “I commend the excellent work of the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation, including the Connecticut State Police; the FBI in Connecticut, New York City, and Chicago; the New York City Police Department; and ICE Homeland Security Investigations. Our work is not done as we seek to bring others involved in this serious crime to justice.”

On March 22, 2012, a jury found Nicolescu guilty of attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, and possession of a stolen vehicle. According to the evidence presented during the trial, Nicolescu and two other individuals, wearing masks and brandishing knives and firearms, entered a home in South Kent, Connecticut, shortly before midnight on April 15, 2007. The intruders bound and blindfolded two adult victims and injected each with a substance the intruders claimed was a deadly virus. The intruders ordered the victims to pay $8.5 million or else they would be left to die from the lethal injection. When it became clear that the victims were not in position to meet the intruders’ demands, Nicolescu and his co-conspirators drugged the two residents with a sleeping aid and fled in the homeowner’s Jeep Cherokee.

The stolen Jeep Cherokee was abandoned the next morning in New Rochelle, New York. Nicolescu’s DNA was found on the steering wheel of the vehicle. At trial, prosecutors showed that although Nicolescu had been employed as a butler at the residence in South Kent for two months in 2006, the homeowner purchased the Jeep Cherokee after Nicolescu had been fired and was no longer on the premises.

In addition to DNA evidence, expert testimony, and the testimony from the two victims, at trial the government introduced into evidence the contents of an accordion case that washed ashore in Jamaica Bay six days after the home invasion. This evidence included a stun gun, a 12-inch knife, a black plastic Airsoft gun, a crowbar, syringes, sleeping pills, latex gloves, and a laminated telephone card with the South Kent address of the victims. Trial testimony from Nicolescu’s former wife and former father-in-law showed that Nicolescu’s father-in-law made the knife and gave it to Nicolescu as a gift.

On the night of the home invasion, one of the victims was caring for her 3-year-old grandchild. During the victim’s testimony at trial, the victim stated that, during the ordeal, “I spent a lot of time while I was just sitting there thinking about—well, my children and how horrible this was going to be for them, because I was sure I was going to die. And I kept thinking that my daughter who was about to deliver a baby was going to wake up in the morning and find her mother dead and her child either dead or kidnapped….I just didn’t see how anyone could survive something like that….I just felt like I had failed as a mother, that at that point she could be in that position….That was my primary concern all night.”

Nicolescu has been detained in federal custody since his arrest by the FBI in Illinois on January 23, 2011.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Connecticut State Police; the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Connecticut, New York City, and Chicago; the New York City Police Department and ICE Homeland Security Investigations.

U.S. Attorney Fein also acknowledged the critical assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David E. Novick and Paul H. McConnell.