On July 16, 2010, the New York City Police Department arrested 24-year-old Nicole Thompson. Investigators had connected her to a counterfeit check ring. They wanted her help as they pursued the fraud’s leader. According to federal prosecutors, Thompson agreed to cooperate.
Eight days later, on July 24, Thompson’s dead body was found in a dumpster in Landover, Maryland. The medical examiner concluded that she died from asphyxiation.
On Wednesday the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced that it has charged Naquan Reyes, the boss of the crime scheme, with Thompson’s murder.
“When one of his recruits began to cooperate with law enforcement, Reyes decided that her life was forfeit and killed her to protect the flow of ill-gotten gains,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
Reyes, who is 29 and from Brooklyn, also faces charges of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and other related counts.
Federal prosecutors claim that he began the frauds in 2008. A former bank teller, Reyes allegedly made the counterfeit checks. His accomplices deposited those checks in bank accounts, then withdrew the cash before the banks realized the checks were fake. Thompson was one of those accomplices.
The indictment, unsealed on Wednesday, states that Thompson wrote a statement identifying Reyes as the ringleader. Reyes somehow learned that Thompson was cooperating and he began sending threatening text messages, according to the indictment. Prosecutors claim that Reyes transported Thompson’s body from New York to Maryland in the trunk of a car.
The feds continued to target Reyes. They gained another informant. According to the indictment, Reyes met with a government source in a hotel room in February. The room was bugged and the source was wired. The two discussed the murder.
“What was I supposed to do?” said Reyes. “I just did it myself. I just felt it was personal.”
He added, “It was either me or her, that’s how the fuck I look at it!”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 24, 2014