A New York woman claims an NYPD officer illegally taped their one night stand then blackmailed her with the videos, according to a lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court in the Queens borough of New York City.
Valentina Veleva, 35, claims that Miguel Delacruz recorded her without her knowledge and consent while she was naked and performing oral sex on him in his apartment on March 14, 2017.
Veleva claims Delacruz later sent her 12 seconds of the video and threatened to share it with their mutual friends if she told anyone about it because he’s married and has a child.
Veleva and her lawyer Joe Murray, a retired NYPD officer and former District Attorney candidate, slammed investigators for allegedly neglecting her accusations for years and told DailyMail.com that Queens DA Melinda Katz should recuse herself from the case.
Valentina Veleva, 35, claims that Miguel Delacruz, pictured, recorded her without her knowledge and consent while she was naked and performing oral sex on him
Veleva claims Delacruz later sent her 12 seconds of the video and threatened to share it with their mutual friends if she told anyone about it
Veleva said that Delacruz was popular with her friends and was scared he would send them the videos
Murray said probes into Veleva’s claims about Delacruz have been compromised by a conflict of interest because they were investigated by NYPD Sergeant Cliff Nieves – who himself has been charged with running a prostitution and gambling ring.
Veleva and Delacruz had been friendly for a year before the one night stand, having met at a now-closed hookah bar called Teal where they both were regulars, she said.
‘Valentina was enamored by Delacruz who showed little interest in Valentina romantically until the late evening of March 13, 2017, when they met up at Teal,’ the lawsuit reads.
Delacruz invited Valentina back to his apartment in Jackson Heights where they could be alone together and allegedly drunkenly drove them there, according to the lawsuit.
The two then ‘had consensual sexual intercourse’ that included Valentina performing oral sex upon Delacruz.
The lawsuit alleges that Delacruz then committed the crime of unlawful surveillance in the second degree by recording her without her knowledge or consent.
‘With a shocking level of impunity… he created multiple video recordings of Valentina while she was naked, of the ‘[s]exual or other intimate parts’ of her body, including her buttocks,’ the lawsuit reads.
Veleva left around 3am when Delacruz allegedly told her he had to work very early in the morning.
She texted him when she arrived home at 3.12am, writing: ‘Home. Text me when you get to work but I don’t think you should take a cab because it’s snowing very bad.’
‘Did you make it to work?’ she texted him again at 6.39am.
Delacruz did not respond and blocked her on his social media accounts.
‘Somewhat confused, but still acting out of genuine concern that Delacruz may have overslept and was going to be late for work, Valentina decided to call Delacruz, but a female voice answered saying ‘hello hello’ and then hung up,’ the lawsuit reads.
Veleva called him back again and Delacruz told her that he had cameras in his apartment that he recorded her with and ‘specifically threatened Valentina that he would disseminate the recordings if she did not keep her mouth shut.’
Delacruz allegedly hung up the phone and sent her the first 12-second video file to Veleva by text message at 7.30am.
‘As if that wasn’t shocking and cruel enough, Delacruz made a thinly veiled threat to disseminate this recording and others by texting Valentina, ‘Got more’,’ the lawsuit reads.
A furious Veleva called him back and Delacruz allegedly responded by saying that he didn’t understand why she was complaining because she was ‘probably the 50th girl he had recorded.’
‘I started crying, I was really scared that he would send the videos around. I was worried someone would follow or do something to me,’ she told DailyMail.com.
Veleva said that Delacruz was popular with her friends and was scared he would send them the videos.
‘Valentina immediately suffered severe emotional distress, including humiliation, anxiety, terror and paranoia that Delacruz either already disseminated this and other videos he may have made,’ the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit claims that Veleva immediately reported this criminal conduct to the Civilian Complaint Review Board – which is tasked with investigating police misconduct.
The next day, she reported Delacrus to the NYPD’s 114th Precinct where she was interviewed by an Internal Affairs Bureau investigator and identified Delacruz in a photo array.
She emailed the videos to the internal affairs investigators as well as screenshots of messages between her and Delacruz, Veleva told DailyMail.com.
‘Instead of filing a criminal complaint, they had me file a family court incident report,’ she said.
She initiated two Family Offense Petitions in Queens County Family Court and when called to the stand, Delacruz invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, the lawsuit claims.
‘The investigation of Valentina’s criminal complaint was being supervised by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, Public Integrity Unit, who were moving incredibly slow with Valentina’s relatively simple complaint,’ the lawsuit reads.
‘NYPD Sergeant, Cliff Nieves, the NYPD officer who was assigned to investigate Delacruz in Valentina’s complaint, was himself under investigation by the Queens District Attorney Public Integrity Unit.’
Veleva told DailyMail.com that Nieves told her that he could not do anything about her complaint because ‘the police, DA and NYPD did not want to do anything.’
She said that she requested new investigators as she petitioned the DA’s office to make a decision about her case.
‘They said they would review the testimony and in October 2019 they said they were not moving forward,’ she said.
She added: ‘They claimed that because my face is not in the footage, I cannot be recognized. They deflected that I’m not credible and that I’m not stable.’
Veleva claimed she even tried to petition legal bigwigs like Katz, New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. to help her.
‘They said they’re handling big cases like Trump and Cuomo and Trump and I’m not big enough for them,’ she said.
‘I am extremely disappointed in the AG office, they could have reviewed my case. I know it was not committed under Cuomo or Donald Trump but that fact that it was committed by a police officer does not mean it was a small case.’
Veleva said that a court had taken away Delacruz’s firearm and that she was shocked when it was given back to him and that he was reassigned to the 24th precinct.
‘This is extremely disrespectful. This is like a promotion. He commits a crime, is not charged, and was placed on a modified duty,’ she said.
‘I can’t believe the NYPD would be so arrogant to give him the firearm back.’
Veleva claimed Delacruz posted pictures when he got the firearm back making fun of the NYPD, she said, adding that he is ‘an unregistered sex offender.’
‘Even though women are speaking they’re not taken seriously. If this person was a civilian, they would be prosecuted a long time ago,’ she said.
She added: ‘I don’t know if I’m ever going to see him convicted for the crime he committed.’
She cried as she told DailyMail.com that she is ‘extremely grateful’ that Murray has filed the lawsuit for her.
‘I started going to therapy and I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. … Even tomorrow, I have a session with my therapist because every time I speak about this it is like it’s happening right now and it’s extremely hurtful,’ she said.
Murray told DailyMail.com that he believes Delacruz had disseminated the videos.
‘You tell me why would he block her the night they have this intimate moment and he records her giving him a blowjob,’ Murray said.
Murray alleged that the NYPD ‘mishandled’ her case from the first day by sending her case through family court.
‘They had someone, Yvonne Francis, a very experienced prosecutor, investigating this and they were stringing her along because they were investigating Cliff Nieves,’ he said.
He slammed the DA’s office for ‘creating the conflict of interest’ by allegedly ‘allowing’ Nieves to investigate Delacruz while it was prosecuting Nieves.
‘They had to make a decision: ‘Do we investigate Delacruz or do we prosecute Nieves. They made that decision right away ‘we’re not going to prosecute her’,’ Murray said.
He added: ‘They’re liars, they used her, they led her on to make her believe an actual investigation was being done. There doesn’t need to be an investigation when there a recording proving it.’
Murray said that after investigators questioned Veleva’s credibility, he sent her to get a polygraph taken to ensure she was telling the truth that she was unaware she was being recorded and did not give consent.
‘There were two additional questions: was it her and was it him. And there was no mistake,’ Murray said.
Murray also questioned why her case has allegedly been treated with neglect, noting that she is ‘an immigrant green card holder from Bulgaria.’
‘I am horrified at what they did to this woman, they dismissed her as a little girl complaining about nonsense,’ he said.
‘They’re treating her like a stupid immigrant girl who can’t figure out heads or tails.’
Murray claimed that he has ‘never seen police officers and DAs treat a crime victim of a sex offense the way they are treating her.’
‘How dare these people! Where do they get their arrogance?’ Murray said.
‘This is a poor immigrant who comes her from Bulgaria, she’s a courageous woman she does not have anyone to stand up for her.’
Murray said that he is filing a letter to Katz asking her to recuse herself from prosecuting his client’s case because of her alleged conflict of interest while requesting a special prosecutor.
‘They cannot investigate this after having Cliff Nieves investigating her case for a year and a half. They’re totally conflicted out,’ he said.
When asked about Delacruz, Murray said: ‘This guy does not deserve to be one of New York’s Finest.’
Veleva recorded many of her conversations with prosecutors she had sought help from, which have been provided to DailyMail.com.
Murray said one of the recordings, a conversation with Gerry Brave, particularly angered him. Brave is a veteran prosecutor who has served in the Queens District Attorney’s Office for decades.
‘On the recording Valentina is attempting to explain that Delacruz has more videos because after Delacruz sent the video to her,’ Murray said.
Brave allegedly said in the call: ‘He threatened you that there were more videos to try and get you to stop contacting him, which apparently, after these many weeks now, I can see is a personality trait that you possess.’
‘Gerry was essentially saying that since Valentina called Gerry several times about her case over the last couple of weeks, he could see why Delacruz did what he did,’ Murray said.
In a statement obtained by the New York Post, a spokesperson for the Queen’s DA office said it handles ‘every complaint of this nature very seriously.
‘Ms. Veleva’s was no exception. This matter was thoroughly and carefully reviewed before investigators determined there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a criminal case,’ the spokesperson said.
A spokesman with the city Law Department told the outlet: ‘we’ll review this case.’