Two indicted for kidnapping, assaulting man in southeast Queens hotel: DA

Howard Beach
Five Romanian nationals living in Queens were arrested Thursday and criminally charged hours later in Brooklyn federal court for allegedly skimming ATMs across the borough to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from more than 600 victims, according to federal prosecutors.
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A Brooklyn woman and a Long Island man were indicted on multiple charges and arraigned Wednesday, Aug. 24 in Queens Supreme Court for allegedly terrorizing a would-be john inside a southeast Queens hotel.

Destiny Lebron, 19, of North Portland Avenue in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, and Gil Iphael, 22, of Copiague Street in Valley Stream, Nassau County, were arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice Ira Margolis on a 22-count indictment charging them with kidnapping, assault, robbery, and grand larceny and other crimes, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

According to the charges, on Aug. 6, the victim, a 59-year-old man, answered a prostitution advertisement with a photo of Lebron. The victim was instructed to meet Lebron at a southeast Queens hotel.

Once inside the room, the victim paid Lebron to have sex and began to undress. As the victim began to disrobe, Lebron allegedly threw bleach in the victim’s face, opened the door to let defendant Iphael into the room and he covered the victim’s head with a blanket, and began punching him and demanding his money.

The defendants took the victim’s car keys, phone, and wallet and when the victim refused to unlock his phone, defendant Lebron burned him with a curling iron until he complied, according to the charges

Katz said the defendants restrained the victim against his will for several hours while they continued to assault him. At one point, Iphael reached his hand into a bag and threatened to kill the victim, leading him to believe he had a gun inside the bag. During this time, the defendants attempted to transfer his money electronically, then made multiple trips to an ATM to take money from the victim’s bank account using his ATM card. Throughout the ordeal, the defendants repeatedly threatened to kill his family if he reported the crime to the police.

“As alleged, the defendants pounced on the unsuspecting man, held him against his will, and severely beat and terrorized him for several hours,” Katz said. “This kind of lawlessness is inexcusable and will not be tolerated. Both defendants are in custody and face very serious charges.”

Justice Margulis ordered Lebron and Iphael to return to court on Sept. 13. If convicted, both defendants face up to 25 years in prison. Katz asked that if anyone has any information relevant to the investigation, they can report it to the NYPD’s Human Trafficking Squad at 212-694-3031.