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Bank Manager’s Alleged Murder-for-Hire Plot Falls Apart Spectacularly

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

A New York bank manager allegedly tried to hire a hitman to kill her brother-in-law, but things were swiftly derailed when the hired gun informed the man—one day prior to when the deed was supposed to be done—that he was the target of an assassination plot.

Reshma Massarone, a 39-year-old mother of two, was arrested Monday and charged with racketeering/murder-for-hire, according to federal court filings unsealed Tuesday. She agreed to pay $10,000 to have the brother-in-law shot dead, locking it in with a $2,500 down payment sent from a suburban Walgreens, the criminal complaint against her states.

Massarone, née Bhoopersaud, remained detained on a judge’s orders on Tuesday, as a danger to the community. Reached by phone, Massarone’s husband Jeffrey told The Daily Beast, “You have to talk to my lawyer,” before hanging up. Mark Gombiner, Massarone’s court-appointed federal defender, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union customers who visit Massarone’s branch webpage are greeted by her headshot, along with the quote, “It is a pleasure assisting the MHV membership while working in Woodstock, the home of renowned artists, unique shops and specialty restaurants.” As of Tuesday afternoon, the page was still live. MHV did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The case against Massarone can be traced back to July 20, when she got on Facebook Messenger and contacted a police officer she knew in Guyana, according to the complaint. The unidentified cop had known Massarone’s brother-in-law for years, and provided security for him and his family whenever they visited the South American country, the complaint says.

Massarone told the officer she wanted her brother-in-law dead, and that “because of the preexisting friendship between [the officer] and [Massarone’s brother-in-law], Massarone believed that [her brother-in-law] and his wife would never expect that [the officer] would murder [the brother-in-law],” according to the complaint.

A snippet of a chat between Massarone and the Guyanese police officer, in which she tells him he'll be a "rich man" if he follows her directions.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

In conversations over Facebook and WhatsApp, Massarone’s police officer pal told her that he couldn’t do the actual shooting himself, but that he knew a hitman who “could get the job done,” the complaint states.

“You take care of business and you be a rich man,” Massarone wrote to the officer, according to screenshots included in the complaint.

“I do hope that when we get rid of [your brother-in-law] for you, you don’t roll us over,” the officer replied. “It’s all about trust.”

“Swear on my kids,” Massarone wrote back.

On July 21, Massarone went to a Walgreens in Orange County, New York, and sent $2,500 to the officer in Guyana, via Western Union, the complaint states, noting that Massarone can be seen on store security video counting out 25 $100 bills and handing them to the Western Union clerk. She sent a photo of the transaction receipt to the officer, who wrote back, “Delete my contact. Or store my name as fake name,” suggesting, “Officer Smith.”

On July 24, Massarone’s brother-in-law and his wife went to the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana, where he accused Massarone of having taken a hit out on him, according to the complaint. He said he “learned of the hit because [the officer] had told him about it, and that the hit was supposed to take place the next day, July 25, in Guyana,” it states. Although the complaint against Massarone does not explicitly lay out a motive, it says the brother-in-law told embassy officials that he and Massarone “had an ongoing civil litigation matter pending in New York.”

In a July 25 phone call, the officer told Massarone that everything was set, that he had hired the hitman, and that he had secured a car to use for the job. He then checked one last time that she only wanted the brother-in-law killed.

“Just he, just he,” Massarone replied, according to a transcript included in the complaint.

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The officer said the hitman was waiting for the brother-in-law to leave home.

“We have to do it in a fast and smart way,” the officer told Massarone. “They shoot him from the road, you understand. So why I call you back, you understand, to make sure I let you know everything goes as planned and there is no turning back.”

“Right,” Massarone replied, before asking the officer to delete her number. “No turning back.”

But there was a hitch in the plan, because the hit didn’t happen. On July 27, the complaint says Massarone and the officer spoke again, gaming out their next move.

“So, who there with them?” Massarone asked.

“Nobody there with them,” the officer said. “Everything stick the plan. Everything set for today. Everything planned already.”

The officer told Massarone that the hitman would make the murder look like a robbery, the complaint states. Once it’s done, Massarone “can’t move wild, you understand?” the officer warned. “Watch the town.”

Again, the hit didn’t come to fruition, according to the complaint, which says Massarone and the officer, who appears to have in fact been working closely with police, “continued to communicate” as recently as August 16. According to the complaint, the officer turned his communications with Massarone over to U.S. law enforcement.

Five days later, Massarone would be in handcuffs. If convicted, she faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. Massarone is due back in court on Sept. 5.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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