NJ wife of celebrity scammer charged in kidnapping of critic
The 21-year-old wife of an Instagram personality in North Jersey has been accused of taking part in a kidnapping scheme involving one of her husband’s critics.
Joumana Danoun, of Paterson, was charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, witness tampering and bribery, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced.
Danoun’s husband, Jebara Igbara, also known on social media as “Jay Manzini,” was arrested and charged with kidnapping and related offenses this past spring — along with several other people.
The victim was physically assaulted, threatened with a machete and whipped with a cord-like object, Musella said.
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, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn.
Ishimeer Allen, Alaziz Dalmida and Rami Aljibawi, were also accused of involvement in the kidnapping and assault plot, authorities said, and were charged in the spring.
Bassam Aljanadi, a relative of Danoun, then repeatedly contacted the victim and the victim’s family, trying to convince them to drop the kidnapping charges filed against Igbara, Musella said.
Aljanadi was arrested on April 27 by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and Clifton Police. He was charged with witness tampering.
Between July 14 and Thursday, Danoun was charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree conspiracy to commit kidnapping, second-degree bribery and third-degree witness tampering.
She was taken to Bergen County Jail, pending her first court appearance in Hackensack.
“As alleged, Igbara used his immense social media popularity to dupe his followers into selling him Bitcoin,” Acting U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Mark Lesko said in a written release in March.
“This Office will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to stop fraudsters like the defendant from perpetrating social media scams that prey on innocent victims,” he continued.