Investigators connect cyber attorney to 3 rapes through genealogy database

ByDerick Waller WABC logo
Friday, June 2, 2023
NYC attorney arrested in connection with 3 Boston rapes
Matthew Nilo, a cyber attorney in New York City, was arrested in connection with three Boston rapes.

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. -- An attorney accused in a string of rapes in Boston more than a decade ago was arrested in New Jersey on Wednesday.

Matthew Nilo, a cyber attorney in New York City, appeared in court Thursday, but not to defend a client.

During the brief appearance, he waived extradition and agreed to be returned to Massachusetts to answer to the charges.

Nilo has been charged with a series of rapes in Boston. Investigators pinned Nilo to the rapes with a DNA sample.

The 35-year-old was arrested at his Weehawken home this week. Authorities in Boston say he's the suspect in three separate rapes that occurred there between 2007 and 2008.

He allegedly targeted women who were walking alone, but his lawyer said he is prepared to fight the charges.

"We're going to enter a plea of not guilty for certain and then his attorney will take it from there, he'll be fighting the charges," attorney Jeff Garrigan said.

Nilo was identified to law enforcement through family members who voluntarily sent DNA samples to a genealogy database, like "23 and Me."

The practice is controversial and the subject of at least one lawsuit in New Jersey and is currently banned in New York. However, this case happened in Massachusetts and the local district attorney is praising investigators.

"Investigators never stopped analyzing evidence, collecting information and running down leads in order to bring dangerous offenders to justice," Suffolk County, Massachusetts, District Attorney Kevin Hayden said.

His Manhattan employer, Cowbell Cyber, says he was hired in January 2023 after passing a background check, but has been suspended pending further investigation.

"While we know today's arrest of Mr. Nilo cannot erase the harm he allegedly inflicted upon his survivors, we believe we have removed a dangerous threat from our community," FBI Boston's Special Agent in Charge Joseph Bonavolonta said.