NJ victim of ‘Instagram kidnapping’ now charged with taking bribe from suspect
A Wayne man who had reported being kidnapped by a group linked to a scandal-ridden Instagram influencer now is accused of asking for a $200,000 bribe to change his story.
Amjad Mashal, 29, initially went on record about his own kidnapping back in March.
Several months later, he called the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and said he wanted to drop the charges filed against several individuals, according to a criminal complaint in the new case.
Jebara Igbara, also known on social media as “Jay Manzini,” was arrested and charged with kidnapping and related offenses last spring — along with several other people.
The victim had been physically assaulted, threatened with a machete and whipped with a cord-like object, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella previously said.
Igbara’s 21-year-old wife, Joumana Danoun, of Paterson, then was charged in July with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, witness tampering and bribery.
Mashal and Danoun had exchanged text messages, promising him a total of $200,000 for changing his sworn statement, Musella announced on Friday.
While searching Mashal’s Clifton business, law enforcement also recovered the prescription drug Adderall.
Mashal has been charged with bribery and drug possession — both third-degree counts.
Igbara also faces federal charges, stemming from a scheme in which prosecutors say he scammed at least $2.5 million worth of Bitcoin from people, by lying about sending wire transfers of cash in exchange for the cryptocurrency.
In reality, he never sent the money, federal prosecutors have said.