Rosemary and James Malfetti Jr., had sent out a simple message on March 31 in advertisements announcing an additional contribution to the family’s offer of a reward for information on the murder of their son, James Malfetti III, in his St. John apartment on January 18, 2014:
“We were just notified by Crime Stoppers that they can’t handle rewards over $2,500 and their rewards are only for arrest, not arrest and conviction,” Rosemary Malfetti wrote St. John Tradewinds. “Crime Stoppers has asked us to withdraw their name and phone number from the ad.”
Rosemary and her husband, James Malfetti Jr., had sent out a simple message March 31 in advertisements announcing an additional contribution to the family’s offer of a reward for information on the murder of their son, James Malfetti III, in his St. John apartment on January 18.
“We have received a $5,000 donation from a resident of St John who wishes to remain anonymous,” Rosemary and James Malfetti Jr. posted on the internet. “The initial $25,000 reward is from the family of Jimmy Malfetti, our ‘justiceforjimmyteam.’ The total reward now stands at $30,000. Please help us with this message.”
The Malfetti family is now offering its $30,000 reward without the involvement of the national Crime Stoppers program.
Objection to Size, Terms of Reward
The conflict over the reward seemed to arise after the lawyer for the Malfetti family, Nancy Lucianna of Fort Lee, NJ, contacted Atty. Alan B. Brown, the Civilian Coordinator for Crime Stoppers USVI, to inquire about updating the Crime Stoppers announcement of their standard $2,500 reward for information on the Malfetti murder to include the family’s $30,000 privately-funded award.
“Please be advised that I represent the family of Jim Malfetti, the young man who was murdered in St. John earlier this year,” Atty. Lucianna wrote Atty. Brown on Monday, March 31. “In reference to same, I am writing with regards to the recent $30,000.00 reward that was raised by the family for any information leading to the arrest and conviction.”
“It is my understanding that Crime Stoppers has not updated the information regarding the reward due to some sort of police verification,” the attorney continued. “If this is the case, please let me know what information is needed to proceed so that the information may be included with Crime Stoppers.”
“Cease at Once”
Atty. Brown responded to Atty. Lucianna’s e-mail a few hours later with a strong objection to the increased award and Crime Stoppers’ continued affiliation with the Malfettis.
“Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards without the IRS 1099 requirement. This is a special exemption that was passed by the US Congress many years ago,” Atty. Brown e-mailed Atty. Lucianna. “Crime Stoppers USA and Crime Stoppers USVI are not going to do anything to Jeopardize that exemption as it is one of the main tools used to protect the anonymity of our tipsters.”
“In the USVI our maximum, CASH, reward is $2,500,” Atty. Brown continued. “In addition, all of our rewards are for the arrest of a suspect, not the arrest and CONVICTION of a suspect. For details on how Crime Stoppers Works, please see our website at www.CrimeStoppersUSVI.org.”
“In addition, about 37 minutes ago it was brought to my attention the ‘justiceforjimmyteam’ placed an ad in today’s Virgin Islands Daily News that imply’s Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of $25,000,” Atty. Brown wrote in his e-mail to Mrs. Malfetti. “This was done without our permission and needs to cease at once as it is jeopardizing not only our program, but all Crime Stoppers programs.”
Crime Stoppers Offers Malfettis Advice
Atty. Brown offered the Malfetti attorney advice.
“Everything I know says the family should definitely go through VIPD as they are the agency that is going to investigate this murder,” Atty. Brown e-mailed Atty. Lucianna, the Malfetti family’s attorney. “Don’t know if you are aware of it, but VIPD does have a reward fund for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a homicide suspect. I think the amount is $5,000.”
“If you go through them, perhaps you will be able to combine the two rewards,” Atty. Smith continued. “In addition, they have the ability to move the tipster to the states with a new identity.”
“It is also my understanding that the Commissioner has taken a direct interest in solving this murder so the family may want to contact him directly,” the Crime Stoppers representative continued. “Conversely, it is the opinion of Crime Stoppers USA that large rewards are not what brings in the needed information and, they may even reduce the chances of an arrest or a conviction… ”
“If the family decides to proceed with the current ad, then simply change the contact information in the existing ad to: If you know the whereabouts of these items or know information pertaining to his death PLEASE CALL MAJOR CRIMES AT 340-642-8449,” the Crime Stoppers attorney continued. “If the family still feels the need to mention Crime Stoppers,” Atty. Smith continued, “based on what the ad is trying to do, I would add: If you wish to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Their cash reward is much less, but no conviction is required and you will remain anonymous.”
“If it was my son that had been killed… ”
“However, if it was my son that had been killed, and knowing that eventually the stolen property will surface or the killer will say something to someone, I would cancel the large reward and instead spend my resources on posters similar to the one attached coupled with a monthly ad in the local papers, and a personal appeal to the community via a radio talk show every other month,” Atty. Smith suggested to the Malfetti family. “I also think including the picture of Jimmy would be a positive.”
The Malfetti’s, meanwhile, are continuing their quest for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators of their son’s murder.
Malfetti Family Thanks Supporters
“Thank you for your caring interest in our son Jimmy’s murder investigation,” the family wrote in a public message. “Jim and I are so grateful for the love, support and prayers we have received from the good people of St. John, the island our son loved so much.”
“Please help us convey our gratitude to all those that have touched our lives with their messages of kindness and hope,” Malfetti’s mother wrote. “They have lifted our spirits and have brought us comfort.”
“As parents, we are left with a gaping hole in our hearts for the loss of our only child whose life was snatched from us much too early,” Rosemary Malfetti continued. “Nothing we can do or say will bring our son back, but perhaps we can prevent another family from going through this same difficult journey we are experiencing.”
“Perhaps we can bring awareness to the high crime rate on the beautiful islands of the USVI that attract so many who associate these islands with peace and tranquility,” Mrs. Malfetti continued. “We believe that some systems are broken, and some things need change. The good people of St John and the USVI deserve more. We believe there needs to be a message of awareness and change, before it is too late.”
The V.I. Police Department has released no new information on their investigation into the murder of James Malfetti III.