A northwest suburban woman is accused of plotting to gain custody of her children by hiring "gang members," who were actually undercover federal agents, to severely injure her ex-husband and his new wife, officials said Thursday.
Michelle L. Bertoncini, 39, of South Elgin, is being held in the Kane County Jail on state charges in lieu of $350,000 bail.
Bertoncini was introduced to two agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on Jan. 31 in Chicago, said Tom Ahern, a spokesman for the agency.
Bertoncini, who thought the agents were gang members, gave them diagrams of the Lincoln Park home where her former husband lives with his current wife, an elementary school teacher, and the two children Bertoncini had with him, Ahern said. Bertoncini also allegedly provided the agents with photos of the couple.
She originally considered killing the couple, but later changed her mind and said she wanted to put them in the hospital for a lengthy period to allow her to gain custody of her children, Ahern said.
The options she discussed with the agents included having them bomb the couple’s car or having the agents stage a carjacking in which they would beat the couple to the point they were disabled and permanently disfigured, Ahern said.
Bertoncini allegedly agreed to pay the agents $1,200 and she gave them a $350 down payment on Feb. 13, officials said. On Sunday, she allegedly gave the go-ahead for the agents to carjack and beat the couple.
Bertoncini was arrested Monday at her South Elgin home and was charged Tuesday with solicitation of aggravated vehicular hijacking and solicitation of unlawful vehicular invasion.
Bertoncini and her 44-year-old former husband were married in 2001 and divorced in 2008. He married his current wife, who is 38, in March 2013, Cook County records show.