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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Manhattan Man Arrested For Attempting To Hire Hitman To Murder Three Intended Victims

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that JOEL ROSQUETTE, a/k/a “Rick,” was arrested today for attempting to hire a hitman to murder three intended victims.  ROSQUETTE was presented today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Joel Rosquette attempted to hire a hitman to murder two of his neighbors in Manhattan and the owner of a gas station in Staten Island.  Now, thanks to the dedicated work of our partners at the FBI, Rosquette’s plan has been foiled, he is in federal custody, and his intended victims are safe.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “As alleged, Rosquette commissioned a hitman to carry out three murders on his behalf.  In the end, he was fooled by the merits of his own plan. Today, we foiled this murder-for-hire scheme, sparing three innocent lives a most unfortunate fate.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint filed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

ROSQUETTE hired an individual he thought was a hitman to murder two of his neighbors in Manhattan.  Because ROSQUETTE was short on cash, he arranged for the hitman to murder another person first – the owner of a gas station in Staten Island – and rob the gas station’s safe.  ROSQUETTE’s plan was to have the proceeds of the gas station robbery pay for the murder of his two neighbors.  What ROSQUETTE did not know was that the person he thought was a hitman was actually an undercover FBI agent.  This morning, ROSQUETTE was arrested and his plan to commission three murders was foiled.

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ROSQUETTE, 50, of Manhattan, New York, is charged with three counts of murder-for-hire, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

U.S. Attorney Berman praised the outstanding work of the FBI.  

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Adam S. Hobson is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.


Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated March 6, 2018