Cyber Insurance Attorney Charged With Serial Rape, Kidnapping 15 Years Ago

May 31, 2023 by

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Boston Police reported they have arrested a cyber insurance attorney in connection with a series of sexual assaults and kidnappings in the Boston area about 15 years ago.

At a press conference on Tuesday, law enforcement officials said they identified Matthew J. Nilo, 35, as a suspect in three rapes, two kidnappings, one attempted rape and an indecent assault between 2007 and 2008 in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood.

Nilo, a former resident of Boston, was placed into custody at his home in Weehawken, New Jersey. “We took him into custody without incident, and he will be brought back to Boston to face justice in the coming days,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, head of the FBI’s Boston field office.

“This is without a doubt a major break in this investigation that has haunted the survivors of these sexual assaults, the residents of Charlestown, and the Boston Police Department for years,” Bonavolonta told reporters. “We believe we have removed a dangerous threat from our community.”

The FBI said the arrest is the result of the FBI’s use of investigative genetic genealogy, a method that generates new leads in unsolved sex assaults, homicides, and other violent crimes. Using this technique, officials were able to obtain positive confirmation of Nilo’s identity last month. Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said the cases in which Nilo is suspected are all connected by DNA evidence.

Nilo’s LinkedIn page identifies him as claims counsel in New York for Cowbell, a San Francisco-based cyber insurance firm where he started work in January 2023. A Cowbell spokesperson told Insurance Journal that Nilo was hired in January after passing a background check. The firm said his employment at Cowbell “has been suspended pending further investigation.”

Prior to Cowbell, he worked at Atheria Law in New York from 2019 to 2022 and Clyde & Co. law firm in San Francisco from 2014 to 2019, according to his LinkedIn profile. Insurance Journal has reached out to these firms to confirm Nilo’s employment but has not yet heard back.

According to police, Nilo is originally from the Boston area, but has also lived in Wisconsin, California and New York. Officials asked any others who believe they may have been a victim of a sexual assault associated with this case or have any information that could be helpful to the investigation to contact either the Boston Police Department or the FBI.

The FBI used Investigative genetic genealogy to identify Nilo. Investigative genetic genealogy, also known as forensic genetic genealogy, uses genetic and genealogical methods to generate leads for law enforcement. DNA profiles from a crime scene are used to identify close genetic DNA profiles or matches. Those are then compared to the known genealogy of close familial matches, which limits the number of possible close relatives of the perpetrator or victim. The method helps investigators provide new leads in cold criminal cases, according to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy.