FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 14, 2019
Private Investigator Sentenced to 1 to 3 Years in Prison for Unlawful Surveillance and Promoting Prostitution as Part of a Scheme to Keep Victim Of Child Sexual Assaults from Testifying Against her Abuser
Defendant Recorded Compromising Videos of Victim’s Family Member
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that Vincent Parco, a private investigator, has been sentenced to one to three years in prison following his conviction last month of unlawful surveillance, promoting prostitution and dissemination of an unlawful surveillance image. The defendant was hired in connection with a scheme to pressure a woman to stop cooperating in the prosecution of a man who sexually abused her as a child.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant, a licensed private investigator, was hired by a sexual abuser who sought to silence the victim of a heinous crime, causing her and her family additional pain. A jury found him guilty of secretly recording an intimate encounter and with today’s sentencing he has been held accountable. Sickening and shameful behavior such as this will not be tolerated in Brooklyn and will be vigorously prosecuted.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Vincent Parco, 68, of Manhattan. The defendant was today sentenced to one to three years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Justice Donald Leo. He was convicted on May 3, 2019, following a jury trial, of one count of fourth-degree promoting prostitution, four counts of second-degree unlawful surveillance and one count of first-degree dissemination of an unlawful surveillance image.
The District Attorney said that on March 2, 2016, Samuel Israel, 46, was arrested and subsequently indicted for sexually abusing a woman when she was 12 years old.
In July 2016, Israel hired the defendant, who owns a private investigation firm, to surreptitiously record embarrassing video images of a family member of the sexual abuse victim to shame the victim and her family in the community and to compel the victim to stop cooperating against Israel. Israel paid the defendant approximately $17,000 for his role in the scheme, the evidence showed.
On December 17, 2016, an associate enlisted by the defendant lured the family member to a hotel room in Sunset Park, where she and the defendant had installed video recording equipment, according to trial testimony. The associate also hired a prostitute, who she and the defendant recorded having sex with the family member, according to testimony.
At the defendant’s direction, the associate set up another secret encounter at the same hotel two days later because of a recording malfunction during the initial encounter, according to testimony. The associate hired the same prostitute for the second encounter, as well as a second prostitute. The family member was secretly recorded with both women, the evidence showed.
On January 17, 2017, the family member recorded at the hotel was approached by a stranger wearing a scarf who showed him a cell phone video and a photograph of the hotel encounter and stated: “Be smart. Stop making trouble,” according to trial testimony. The family member reported the incident to the DA’s office, according to testimony.
Videos of the hotel encounter were recovered from the defendant’s office computer, pursuant to a search warrant.
Israel pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual act and one count of fourth-degree tampering with a witness on July 23, 2018. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, seven years’ post-release supervision and must register as a sex offender upon release from prison.
The case was investigated by Detective Investigators from the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Gwen Barnes of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau and Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam S. Libove, of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Mark Feldman, Executive Assistant District Attorney for Special Investigations.