LAWFUEL – Legal Announcement Service – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that JOHN MELICHAREK,
a/k/a “Rocky,” an alleged associate of the Genovese Organized
Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra, pleaded guilty today to robbery,
extortion, and firearms charges. MELICHAREK’s guilty plea was
entered before United States Magistrate Judge ANDREW J. PECK in
Manhattan federal court. According to the Indictment to which
MELICHAREK pleaded guilty, other documents filed in the case, and
statements made during MELICHAREK’s guilty plea proceeding:
From at least 2003 to 2005, MELICHAREK was an associate
in the crew of Genovese Family captain, or “capo,” ANGELO PRISCO.
In September 2003, MELICHAREK and several other Genovese Family
members and associates robbed a business owner inside his home in
Morris County, New Jersey. MELICHAREK helped plan the robbery,
including by recruiting several others. In the early morning
hours of September 28, 2003, the team MELICHAREK had assembled
broke into the victim’s home; tied up the victim, his wife, and
his housekeeper; assaulted and pistol-whipped the victim; and
stole several hundred thousand dollars worth of cash, collectible
coins, jewelry, and guns. After the robbery, MELICHAREK kept a
portion of the proceeds and paid another portion as “tribute” to
In October 2003, MELICHAREK orchestrated another home
invasion, in Orange County, New York, targeting the cash proceeds
of the business owned by one of the home’s occupants. MELICHAREK
helped plan the robbery, recruited a break-in team, and procured
guns for use during the robbery. MELICHAREK then drove the team
to the victim’s home. The defendants entered the home, tied up
and assaulted a victim, and searched for cash and other
Additionally, from 2004 until early 2005, MELICHAREK
participated in the extortion of $50,000 from a small business
owner based in Manhattan. MELICHAREK and others collected the
money from the victim due to their organized crime status, and by
making threats of violence against the victim and his family.
MELICHAREK faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 4, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. before
Judge SHIRA A. SCHEINDLIN.
MELICHAREK’s guilty plea is the fifth in this case to
date, including: DOMINICK MEMOLI, a/k/a “Shakes,” and DARDIAN
CELAJ, a/k/a “Danny,” to robbery and firearms offenses; LOUIS
PIPOLO to a robbery charge; and MICHAEL IUNI to an extortion
charge. All these defendants await sentencing. The remaining
defendants, ENED GJELAJ, a/k/a “Neddy,” and ANGELO NICOSIA, are
scheduled for trial before United States District Judge SHIRA A.
SCHEINDLIN in July 2008. As to them, the charges are merely
accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.
Mr. GARCIA praised the work of the Newark Field Office
of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and the
assistance of the FBI New York Field Office; the Orange County,
New York District Attorney’s Office; the Westchester County, New
York District Attorney’s Office; the New York State Police; the
Morris County, New Jersey Prosecutor’s Office; the Rockaway
Township, New Jersey Police Department; and the New Jersey State
Commission of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys ELIE HONIG and LISA
ZORNBERG are in charge of the prosecution.