A Brooklyn man who conned the mother of an abducted child into giving him thousands of dollars promising he’d lead a rescue mission after lying that he was a former Delta Force member begged for mercy at his sentencing Wednesday, trying to claim that he, too, was the father of an abducted child.
But the plan backfired and a Manhattan federal judge sentenced Peter Senese to three years in prison — tacking on an extra year to his expected sentence for trying to justify “a crime of unspeakable cruelty.”
“His effort at justifying his actions by suggesting he was traumatized makes it even crueler,” Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said.
Senese, 51, was arrested in 2015 and charged with preying on the desperate parents of abducted children by falsely claiming that he could recover their children with the help of a team of former Delta Force members, including himself.
Prosecutors said Senese stole as much as $85,000 for these fake missions, including from Dr. Samina Rahman from Westchester, whose son was taken to India by his father.
The petite Rahman cried in court as she recalled how Senese duped her with elaborate lies, including telling her that he had rescued his own son from a cage in Macau after the kid had been kidnapped by a ring of sex traffickers. She also recalled how he went to the hospital where she worked to give her flowers he claimed were from her son.
Senese also messaged Dr. Rahman pretending to be on rescue missions for her son in exotic locales like Dubai and India while actually vacationing with his fiance in Florida, prosecutors said.
In an effort to reduce his sentence, Senese stated at the hearing that he only lied to Rahman about fake attempts to rescue her son because he wanted to protect her from the same pain he suffered when his son was taken from him.
“When I said I was going to India, I was trying to give you hope,” Senese said at his sentencing, speaking directly to Rahman. “I didn’t want you to know that pain. God!” he said.
The government said Senese, who they called a “predatory fraudster,” was lying about his son’s abduction, citing interviews with the college freshman.
In sentencing documents, Senese claimed his son was abducted by his mother — not sex traffickers — during an ugly international custody battle.
“We completely contest that any abduction occurred,” prosecutor Jamie Nawaday told the judge.