September 18, 2019 — Philadelphia mafia bookie and reputed flim-flam man Stephen Sharkey will take his fraud case to trial, per Fox29’s Dave Schratwieser, a longtime leading authority on gangland affairs in the City of Brotherly Love. Schratwieser reported the news of Sharkey’s deciding to roll the dice in front of a jury on his Instagram account Monday.

The fast talking 50-year old mob associate was arrested for identity theft and money laundering last month. Sharkey is close to both Philly mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino and Merlino’s acting boss George (Georgie Boy) Borgesi. He was busted for racketeering with them in 2000 and did four years in prison. Returned behind bars for six months in 2010 for repeatedly breaking his parole restrictions, he had stayed out of handcuffs until his most recent pinch in August.

Good looking and hard drinking, Sharkey is famous in the South Philly underworld for his proficiency as a bookmaker and allegedly as a con artist. In the 1990s, he ran a sizable sports book with reputed Bruno-Scarfo crime family soldier Anthony (Tony Cugino) Accardo and helped Merlino and Borgesi extort other gambling operations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as they took over the city’s rackets by force.

Sharkey set one victim up to take a beating for refusing to pay “tribute” to Merlino, per his 2000 indictment. A bookie who testified at Merlino and Borgesi’s trial in 2001 told jurors Sharkey encouraged him to “kick upstairs” to Merlino and Borgesi if he wanted to avoid trouble. Sharkey pleaded guilty before the trial almost two decades ago.

Accardo, Merlino’s cousin, did four years in prison for his role in that case. Some mob watchers speculate the swarthy 59-year old Tony Cugino got his button at some point in the past five years.

Merlino, 57, is in the final two weeks of a federal prison stint for gambling down in Florida. The magnetic mob don relocated from Philly to Boca Raton in 2011. Borgesi, 55, is alleged to have taken over acting boss duties back in the summer.

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