December 3, 2021 — The man they call “Skinny Joey” can now officially fatten his travel schedule with the return of his passport after five years of it being considered property of the federal government.
Last week in New York City, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Sullivan ordered prosecutors to immediately give reputed Philadelphia mafia don Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino his passport back after dawdling and slow-rolling returning the document to the swashbuckling crime boss in Florida, where he has resided for the past decade.
At the proceeding in Manhattan, Sullivan admonished the U.S. Attorneys Office for dragging its feet in allowing Merlino to retrieve his rightful property minus harassment. The feds have been hounding Merlino for the last 30 years and for the most part, has come up empty (sans a racketeering conviction) in their attempt to unseat him from power and freedom.
Gangland News founder Jerry Capeci, the undisputed Dean of American mob writing, broke the news in his weekly column Thursday. Capeci first wrote of Merlino’s passport troubles in October.
The swaggering, high-fashion conscious Skinny Joey has been “off paper” (free of any parole restrictions) since the summer. He did a year of prison time for a federal gambling conviction stemming from the 2016 “East Coast LCN” conspiracy case.
When he was awarded bond in that case more than five years ago, Merlino, 59, turned over his passport to prosecutors. After a mistrial on racketeering charges, Merlino copped a plea to a single gambling count for placing an illegal bet on his cell phone.