The wife of Bergen County-based Instagram influencer "Jay Mazini” was in on a plot to kidnap, threaten and terrorize a Fort Lee man who’d posted negative comments about him on social media, authorities said Friday.
Joumana Danoun, 21, of Paterson also then tried to get the victim to drop the charges, they said.
Danoun joined her husband in the Bergen County Jail following her arrest Thursday.
"Mazini" of Edgewater, whose real name is Jebara J. Igbara, 26, has been held in the county lockup since authorities arrested him on kidnapping charges in March. An FBI detainer prevents a local judge from releasing him under bail reform.
Igbara, who cultivated a reputation for distributing stacks of cash to random people in New York, was charged by the FBI earlier this year with scamming some of his nearly 1 million followers out of more than $2 million in Bitcoin in exchange for worthless wire transfers.
Then came the kidnapping, local authorities said.
Igbarra picked up the 25-year-old victim at the 7-Eleven on Palisade Avenue in Fort Lee on March 15 on the pretense of wanting to talk over coffee, they said.
The victim, who’d apparently trashed him online, apparently got hinky when two of Igbarra's associates got into the 2020 Land Rover, a complaint on file in Superior Court in Hackensack says.
So he got out and sped off in his own car.
The crew chased the victim down, beat him and shoved him back into Igbarra's SUV, the complaint says.
They stripped him naked, held a machete to his neck and told the victim to remove negative social media posts he'd made about Igbarra, it says.
They also threatened to kill him if went to the authorities and said a video of the kidnapping would be released to social media if he didn’t do what he was told, according to the complaint.
Then they dropped him and his belongings in the city of Passaic.
The victim was hospitalized with a concussion, a swollen eye, a left ankle injury and various other bumps, cuts and bruises, authorities said.
Two days later, Musella’s detectives and Fort Lee police -- assisted by a Bergen County Regional SWAT team -- arrested Igbara. He was charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, endangering an injured victim, weapons possession and luring, among other offenses.
Authorities later arrested several accomplices, including Clifton businessman Bassam Patrick Aljanadi, who repeatedly tried to bribe the kidnapping victim into dropping the charges, said Musella, the prosecutor.
Joumana Danoun, it turns out, is related to Aljanadi, Musella said Friday.
She's charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, witness tampering and bribery and remained held Friday in the Bergen County Jail pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack, the prosecutor said.
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