CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A convicted con artist attempted to arrange the killing and decapitation of the judge and U.S. attorney at his trial, prosecutors in Central Islip, N.Y., said.
Joseph Romano, who is serving a 15-year sentence in the Nassau County Correctional Center his conviction in February in a collectible coin swindle, plotted to have Judge Joseph Bianco and U.S. Attorney Lara Gatz killed, telling an informant he wanted them tortured before their death. The informant reported the threat to authorities, and undercover agents arranged to plot his requests, the New York Daily News said Wednesday.
Romano attended a court appearance Tuesday. His business associate Dejvid Mirkovic, 38, was arrested and charged with acting as an intermediary between two FBI undercover agents posing as hit men, court papers said.
Romano, 49, and Mirkovic allegedly offered $40,000 for the plot, the New York Post said.
"Romano requested that the heads of both the judge and the [prosecutor] be preserved in formaldehyde as souvenirs. Romano was willing to pay extra for the 'souvenirs' if (the undercover agent) was willing to store them until Romano's release from prison," FBI special agent Reynaldo Tariche said in a complaint presented Tuesday in Central Islip, N.Y., federal court.
Romano paid an undercover agent $3,000 to assault a former financial associate, promising "a big job, some serious work" if the he completed the assignment. After Mirkovic was shown a photograph of a staged attack, he allegedly offered the agent $40,000 to kill Bianco and Gatz, the complaint said.
"Romano thought he was buying revenge. Instead, he bought the full force of the law along with a possible life sentence," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said.