NEW YORK — 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. Parco 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 Eric 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.”
Parco, 68, of Manhattan, was 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.