FBI: Conman hired hitmen to torture, kill judge

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By John Marzulli
Daily News

A convicted conman tried to hire hitmen to kill and decapitate the judge and prosecutor who put him away for 15 years — offering a bonus if the killers kept the heads in formaldehyde as souvenirs, authorities said Tuesday.

Joseph Romano wasn’t shy about his plans, telling a federal informant that he wanted to torture Judge Joseph Bianco and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Gatz before they were whacked.

"Romano requested that the heads of both the judge and the (prosecutor) be preserved in formaldehyde as souvenirs," FBI special agent Reynaldo Tariche stated in a complaint.

"Romano was willing to pay extra for the 'souvenirs' if (the undercover) was willing to store them until Romano's release from prison," Tariche stated.

The feds also arrested Dejvid Mirkovic, a business associate of Romano's, and charged him with acting as the intermediary with two undercover FBI agents posing as hit men, according to court papers.

Romano had pleaded guilty in 2010 to wire and bank fraud in connection with a boiler room scheme in which victims were pitched collectible coins at vastly inflated prices. There were more than 1,500 victims fleeced out of over $4 million.

Last month the judge signed a $7 million forfeiture order against Romano, of which he still owes the government more than $5 million.

The undercovers met with Romano at the Nassau County jail where Romano proposed the undercovers assault another associate of his for $3,000 as a test, which if successfully carried out, would lead to another "big job, some serious work," according to the complaint.

After Mirkovic was told by the undercovers that the associate had been assaulted — they showed him a staged photo of the attack — he offered them the $40,000 contract on Bianco and Gatz.

The undercovers were paid $12,000 as a down payment toward the double hit.

"Romano thought he was buying revenge," said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. "Instead he bought the full force of the law along with a possible life sentence."

Mirkovic, 38, was arrested Tuesday morning in Lake Worth, Florida.

Actual affidavit: