July 28, 2021 – From his comfy Boca Raton digs, Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino can now go about his business as he wishes with the lifting of all parole restrictions from his 2018 gambling conviction this week. Per three different sources, Skinny Joey threw himself a small party Monday night to celebrate the news.
The swashbuckling, larger-than-life Merlino did one year of prison time, one year of house arrest and one year of supervised release for a gambling bust five years ago out of federal court in New York. His flashbulb-heavy reign atop the rackets in the City of Brotherly Love has made him a household name in Philly, akin to a sports celebrity, popular movie actor or chart-topping musical artist.</p>
Merlino’s trial on racketeering and sports betting charges ended in a mistrial and he copped to a single gambling count to avoid going back in front of a jury. Skinny Joey relocated to South Florida in 2011 after serving 12 years on a separate federal racketeering case from his days living in South Philly. Merlino, 59, was convicted in that case exactly 20 years ago this week, on July 20, 2001.
According to the FBI, Merlino and his crew of equally media-savvy boyhood pals took power by force in Philly’s Bruno-Scarfo crime family in the 1990s when they were just in their early thirties and still run the city’s Italian underworld today. Merlino, per the feds, runs his organization through a series of proxies and buffers, shuffling back and forth between Philly and Boca Raton.
FoxPhilly29 and Mob Talk Sitdown’s Dave Schratwieser was the first to break the news of Merlino’s pending parole lift earlier this month on one of his and NY Times Best-Selling author George Anastasia’s Mob Talk Sitdown video segments. Merlino is expected to be visiting South Philly and taking a vacation to the Jersey Shore in the coming weeks, according to multiple people in contact with Skinny Joey himself.