Burlington Man Admits to Overseas Murder-for-Hire Plot | Off Message

Burlington Man Admits to Overseas Murder-for-Hire Plot


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In a twisted international plot, a Burlington man has admitted that he paid a Venezuelan woman to kidnap two people abroad, torture them and film it — all for his viewing pleasure.

Sean Fiore, 37, pleaded guilty on Thursday to four federal counts that include murder for hire, conspiracy to kidnap and murder a person overseas, as well as producing and possessing child pornography. He will be sentenced in March and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The woman who allegedly carried out Fiore's requests — Moraima Escarlet Vasquez Flores, of Venezuela — faces similar charges. She was arrested in Colombia last fall, and U.S. authorities are now seeking her extradition.

Authorities believe that one of the two victims, an adult man, was killed at Fiore’s request but have yet to confirm the person’s death.

Fiore was first arrested in May 2019 as part of a joint state-federal investigation into child pornography. His arrest came on the same day that he was set to graduate from the University of Vermont with a nurse practitioner degree.

Fiore was initially charged with a single count of possessing child porn and released on conditions, but he wound up back in custody after allegedly violating his conditions of release in May 2020. Prosecutors were apparently building the murder-for-hire case against him in the meantime, announcing the additional charges against him several months later.

According to the Vermont U.S. Attorney's Office, Fiore admitted to the following in court on Thursday:

He communicated with Vasquez Flores through the social media platform WhatsApp in September 2018, expressing his interest in purchasing a video of her depicting the kidnap and torture of a “slave."

The two agreed Vasquez Flores would be paid $600 for the video and would use a child to make it. A month later, she sent Fiore a video depicting the "sadistic abuse of a prepubescent boy consistent with Fiore’s specifications," the press release said, adding that the pain was inflicted "for the sexual arousal of the viewer of the video."

Fiore told prosecutors that he asked Vasquez Flores in December 2018 to create another video, this time showing the torturing and murder of another "slave" that she would kidnap from her home country of Venezuela.

Fiore said the woman intended to secure her next target by luring a man from a party with the promise of sex.

Fiore laid out specifications for the exact physical abuse, humiliation and manner of death he wished to see in the second video and agreed to pay Vasquez Flores $4,000.

It remains unclear what happened to the man in the video that Vasquez Flores ultimately sent.

In April 2019, she sent Fiore a link to a 58-minute video file depicting what prosecutors described on Thursday as the "sadistic abuse and possible death" of an adult man. Prosecutors used similar language when announcing Fiore's arrest last year, describing the second video as showing an "apparent killing."

The language suggests that authorities have been unable to confirm that the man in the video actually died — a task made more difficult by the fact that the act occurred in another country.

Reached Thursday, acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ophardt declined to comment on the case.