Diane Sylvia, a clinical social worker from Somers Point, was bitter after a bad breakup in September of 2018 when she asked a patient at her Linwood practice to physically hurt her ex-boyfriend.

Sylvia knew her patient was a one-time mobster when she asked him to exact revenge on her ex, saying “He needs his pretty little face bashed in. A broken arm would help, too.”

What she didn't know is that her patient was working undercover for the FBI.

The 60-year-old woman admitted in court Tuesday that she took out a home-equity loan in 2018 to pay $4,000 to a man she believed to be a hitman to assault her ex-boyfriend, the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey announced Tuesday.

An undercover FBI agent, posing as a hitman, later met with Sylvia and recorded in-person meetings and telephone conversations, and was told that Sylvia wanted him to punch her ex-boyfriend's face and break his arm, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release.

When Sylvia met the agent again to finalize plans, the agent suggested she get rid of the cellphone she used to communicate with him.

“Can I go to the Ocean City bridge and throw it off?” she asked. “Is that good enough?”

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sylvia’s lawyer, Thomas Calcagni, said that the court account only told part of his client’s story.

“The FBI — the same agency that ignored Ms. Sylvia’s outreach about the abuse she was suffering — should feel a real sense of pride for its four-week sting operation against an emotionally battered woman desperate to find anyone to protect her [from] her abuser.. “What a terrific victory for the Department of Justice.”


Sylvia’s license as a social worker has been suspended. She is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

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