Federal investigators thwarted a murder-for-hire plot drawn up by a prison inmate and his associate who allegedly wanted to pay $40,000 for the heads of both a federal judge and prosecutor involved in the inmate’s prosecution, authorities announced Tuesday.
The inmate, Joseph Romano, and his business associate, Dejvid Mirkovic, were charged with conspiring to murder a U.S. District Judge and an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, officials said.
Romano is currently serving a 15-year sentence following his 2010 conviction for conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, officials said.
The alleged plot came to light in August when a confidential informant told law enforcement that Romano had asked for assistance in arranging for a hit man to “torture and kill” the judge and prosecutor as retaliation for their roles in his prosecution, officials said.
Authorities then conducted an investigation using two law enforcement officers posing as hit men, who met with Romano and Mirkovic several times on Long Island, including at Nassau County jail, where Romano was being held.
During one of the first meetings, Romano allegedly asked one of the undercover officers to assault someone else for $3,000 as a test before agreeing to the murders.
Mirkovic later met with one of the undercover officers and told them that Romano would pay $40,000 for the murders of the judge and prosecutor with a $20,000 down payment, according to court documents.
Authorities also alleged that Romano was willing to pay extra if the hit man preserved the heads of the judge and prosecutor in formaldehyde as souvenirs until his release from prison.
Mirkovic was arrested in Lake Worth, Fla. on Tuesday and was scheduled to appear before a judge in West Palm Beach.
Romano was also scheduled to appear Tuesday before a judge in Central Islip.
“Romano thought he was buying revenge,” Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement. “Instead, he bought the full force of the law, along with a possible life sentence.”