Prosecutors say Melicharek was an associate of the Mafia crew led by Angelo Prisco. Melicharek was accused of leading home invasions in Orange County, NY, and Morris County, NJ, as well as of extorting the owner of a small business in New York City.
He could receive a life prison term when sentenced in September.
Prisco (right), 68, of Brooklyn, is serving time in federal prison, according to a story published a year ago in the Star-Ledger. He reached a plea deal on extortion charges in Newark, NJ, last May and was sentenced to five years. He had been held in New Jersey lockups since a March 2006 arrest. Prisco's 2002 parole from state prison in New Jersey triggered an investigation of a top aide of then-Governor Jim McGreevey.
Another reputed associate of Prisco's crew, Michael Visconti, 39, of Newburgh, NY, pleaded guilty to six criminal counts earlier this month, according to the Star-Ledger. Like Prisco, Visconti was charged in connection with a scheme to eliminate competition for an electrical contracting job.