January 29, 2014 | 1351 views
Inmate ordered hit on U.S. judge, attorney
Levittown native faces life in prison
A Levittown man, already incarcerated at the Nassau County Correctional Center for a previous crime, was convicted by a federal jury on Jan. 23 of conspiring to murder a U.S. district judge and an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, according to a press release issued by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York.
According to the release, Joseph Romano, 51, and his business associate Dejvid Mirkovic, 39, from Florida, paid undercover investigators — who they thought were hit men — to kill both the attorney who prosecuted Romano for engaging in an eight-year, multi-million-dollar fraud, and the judge who sentenced him. The men were charged in October 2012, and last March, Mirkovic pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison in August.
Romano faces a maximum penalty of life in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both, in addition to the forfeiture of more than $200,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 2, according to Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Since the threat was made against an Eastern District prosecutor, the case was recused to and tried by the Western District, before a Southern District judge, Nardoza explained.
In September 2010, Romano pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with his operation of a coin “boiler room” involving the theft of more than $40 million of investors’ money, according to the Department of Justice, which also said that Romano defrauded elderly victims in all 50 states. He was sentenced in February 2012, and is currently serving a 15-year sentence.
The press release did not identify the attorney and judge whom Romano paid to have killed, but a separate U.S. Department of Justice release in February 2012, detailing his first arrest, identified U.S. District Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lara Treinis Gatz and Thomas Sullivan.