- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A mental health counselor has admitted she paid $4,000 to a person she thought was a hitman to assault her ex-boyfriend. federal prosecutors said.

Diane Sylvia, 60, of Somers Point, pleaded guilty Tuesday to solicitation to commit a crime of violence with the intent to seriously injure another. She faces up to five years in prison when she’s sentenced Jan. 27.

Sylvia, a licensed clinical social worker with a private mental health counseling practice in Linwood, asked one of her patients in September 2018 if he could recommend someone who could assault her ex-boyfriend. She had reason to believe the patient was formerly involved in organize crime, prosecutors said.

Authorities have said the patient connected Sylvia to an undercover FBI agent.

In recorded conversations, Sylvia described how she wanted the purported hitman to punch her ex-boyfriend’s face and break his arm, prosecutors said. She told the man that her ex-boyfriend had stolen money from her and was extorting her.

She was arrested in October 2018 after she paid the purported hitman $4,000.

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