Skinny Joey Merlino is reportedly out of prison and headed to a halfway house in Florida where he will begin his supervised release after just over a year behind bars.
The alleged Philly Mafia boss was busted in the East Coast LCN Enterprise case back in 2016. At the time it looked like the feds had scored a major blow against Merlino as he was facing an extended stay behind bars. But the case wasn’t as strong as the feds had hoped and the trial ended in a hung jury. It didn’t seem like either side was really looking forward to a retrial and eventually, Merlino and several other alleged mobsters and associates in the case coped to plea deals. It was the first time that Merlino had ever plead guilty to a crime but it was certainly an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino”
The terms of his plea deal allowed him to plead guilty to a single gambling charge. It called for a maximum of 24 months behind bars instead of the 10 plus years he would have been facing in a retrial. He was eventually sentenced to the max 24 months and was due to be released in July of 2020. But a new justice reform formula and some credit for time served from an appeal helped the 57-year-old mobster get out earlier than expected.
According to the feds and several other sources, Skinny Joey Merlino is still the head of the mafia in Philadelphia. But is it finally time to step away? Could this latest run-in with the feds be enough to influence Joey to finally retire from his Cosa Nostra family? With Joey being Joey that seems like a real longshot. According to reports, he had visits from several Philly wiseguys while he was a guest of the government seemingly keeping him in the loop on current happenings.
Before he went away he reportedly installed Michael (Mikey Lance) Lancelotti as his new acting boss. Although more recent rumbling out of the City of Brotherly Love is that Lancelotti’s recurring health problems have caused him to take a step back. And it seems that longtime Merlino friend and associate George Borgesi may be the current acting boss. Either way, Joey’s return isn’t expected to have much of an impact on the day to day operations of the Philadelphia Mafia.
He will likely head back to Boca Raton and continue to run things from there through his trusted associates like Borgesi. Although it would certainly be breaking Mafia News if Skinny Joey Merlino decided it was time to hang ’em up and he walked away from organized crime!