Philadelphia mafia boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino returns to the streets this week after almost a year and a half in federal prison for a gambling conviction. The slick 57-year old mob chief will report to a halfway house in South Florida by the end of the week to begin his supervised release.
Merlino pleaded guilty to a single sports betting count in 2018 after a hung jury in a racketeering case out of New York. He’s been living in Boca Raton, Florida since his release from a 12-year prison stint for a racketeering conviction in March 2011. In the 1990s, Merlino and his fiercely-loyal crew of childhood friends fought and won a war for power in the Philly mafia’s Bruno-Scarfo crime family.
Flashy, camera-friendly and fashion-conscious, the handsome and quick-witted Skinny Joey is tailor made for the 21st Century mafia. Upon leaving prison in early 2011, Merlino fell in love with social media and has become known as the “Instagram Don.” Before his most recent run-in with the law as part of the so-called East Coast LCN Enterprise case in 2016, Merlino was driving a Rolls Royce and running a now-shuttered restaurant featuring his mom’s recipes in South Florida.
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