Chandler J. Cardente Indictment
Federal Grand Jury Indicts Registered Sex Offender for Allegedly Enticing a Minor; Launching a Murder-for-Hire Plot to Kill the Victim
PROVIDENCE – A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned a three-count indictment charging a 28-year-old registered sex offender with allegedly enticing a 12-year-old Rhode Island girl to engage in sexual activity and later launching a murder-for-hire plot from within the state prison where he was being held on related state charges in an alleged scheme to eliminate her as a witness, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha.
The indictment alleges that, beginning on December 3, 2021, Chandler J. Cardente communicated repeatedly with the minor female via social media, prior to having sexual contact with her on December 10, 2021. Cardente was subsequently arrested and detained in state custody.
It is further alleged in the indictment that, while being held at the Adult Correctional Institutions, Cardente communicated by telephone with another person. During these communications, Cardente expressed his intent that the victim be murdered, and offered $200 in cash and equipment worth $1,500. It is alleged in the indictment that Cardente told the other person that the victim needed “to end up dead” because she was “a witness.”
The grand jury indictment charges Cardente with enticement of a minor; committing a felony offense involving a minor while being a registered sex offender; and interstate murder-for-hire. A federal indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Enticement of a minor is punishable by a statutory penalty of up to life in federal prison, with a minimum mandatory term of incarceration of ten years; committing a felony offense involving a minor while being a registered sex offender is punishable by a consecutive term of ten years of incarceration to any sentence imposed for enticement of a minor; interstate murder-for-hire is punishable by a statutory penalty of up to ten years imprisonment. If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by a federal district judge after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case in U.S. District Court is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Milind M. Shah and Assistant Attorney General Shannon Signore of the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office.
The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations; the Burrillville, Warwick, and Cranston Police Departments; Rhode Island State Police; and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections Special Investigations Unit.