An Atlantic County social worker has admitted that she paid $4,000 to a man that she believed to be a hitman to assault her ex-boyfriend.

Diane Sylvia, 60, of Somers Point, pleaded guilty Tuesday by videoconference in U.S. District Court in Camden to solicitation to commit a crime of violence with the intent to seriously injure.

Sylvia has worked as a licensed clinical social worker with a private mental health counseling practice in Linwood.

According to court documents and testimony, in September 2018 she asked one of her patients, whom she had reason to believe was formerly involved in organized crime, to recommend someone that she could hire to assault her boyfriend.

Carpenito said an undercover FBI agent, posing as a hitman, then met with Sylvia.

Prosecutors said Sylvia described in recorded conversation both on the phone and in-person at her office how she wanted the man to punch her ex-boyfriend’s face and break his arm.

Sylvia also was recorded saying that her ex had stolen money from her and was extorting her.

According to Carpenito, Sylvia met with the FBI undercover agent in her office on Halloween 2018 and paid him $4,000 cash to carry out the attack.

The agent told Sylvia to get rid of the pre-paid cell phone that she had been using to contact him, to which Sylvia asked if she should throw the phone off the Ocean City Bridge, prosecutors said.

After the meeting, Sylvia was arrested by FBI agents.

Sylvia is slated for sentencing on Jan. 27. She faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a fine of $125,000.

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