Skinny Joey’s Summer Of Fun: Philly Mob Don Making Most Of No More Parole

The summer of 2015 has been swagger-dripping Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino’s best in a while. For the first time since the 1990s, he’s completely untethered, free to chill at the Jersey Shore with his boys and roam the country at his whim. When Merlino walked out of a Miami federal correctional institute in April after serving over three months on a parole violation, he shed any remaining government supervision and he’s taking full advantage: Skinny Joey has spent the past few weeks jet-setting from his current homebase in South Florida to his old neighborhood in South Philly, New York City, the longtime east coast summer getaway spot at the Shore in Margate, New Jersey and out west to California to visit his sister, nephews and nieces in L.A ., all the while chronicling portions of his travels on social media.

Images of Skinny Joey and his tight-knit crew of childhood chums-mob underlings as well as photos of he and his wife posing in front of famous NYC eatery Rao’s and alongside the rap world’s No. 1 power couple Meek Mill (Philly born-and-bred) and Nicky Minaj have surfaced on Instagram, a social media mechanism Merlino seems to be a huge fan of. Merlino frequently interacts with his “followers” on Instagram and allows his “fans” to take pictures with him to post on their respective social media accounts.

Ace Philadelphia FoxNews television reporter and area mobologist Dave Schratweiser has provided updates of Merlino’s travels on his Twitter feed lately. Schratweiser also reported on Skinny Joey’s restaurant in Boca Raton shuttering for the season recently. As of last word, Merlino was in South Philly and spent the past two weekends at the Shore.

“He’s living it up, why wouldn’t he?” remarked a local mob source said. “This whole time Joey’s mindset is that he’s playing with house money. The gate is totally open right now and he’s going to indulge. It ain’t no secret the floor can fallout from underneath his feet at any second.  He knows he’s tip-toed through the minefield for so long that he should be locked away for the rest of his life. He’s literally gotten away with murder multiple times and avoided being murdered probably more times than that. Joey jokes with people that he’s got the devil on his shoulder looking after him like a good luck charm or something. Everything being even, he’s probably right.”

The slick and savvy 52-year old gangland figure is by far the most high-profile, inherently magnetic and purely fascinating mafia don operating in the United States today. He shot to underworld stardom in the 1990s, winning a mob war for supremacy in the Bruno-Scarfo crime syndicate and creating a media frenzy with practically everything he did until the feds took him down with a 1999 racketeering indictment that led to a 2001 conviction.

Several murders were charged in Merlino’s RICO indictment, but didn’t result in anybody, either Skinny Joey or his lieutenants, being found guilty at trial, despite his former front boss, Ralph Natale, testifying against him regarding the group of hits. Natale is in the Federal Witness Protection Program and signed a book and potential movie deal in April. Merlino and his whole clique of Goomba buddies have filtered back onto the streets after prison terms, with Merlino settling in Florida in 2011 and allegedly running the mob in Philly via a series of proxies in the years since then.

More than one street source claims Skinny Joey himself is expecting another RICO case to come his way in the future.

“Joey is realistic,” said a source from inside the Merlino camp. “The fact that the government has a constant hard-on for him and is on a constant quest to try to stick him in a cage for the rest of his life isn’t lost on him. They’re going to try to pin the JFK assassination on him before it’s all over. If you’re around him, he talks about it. How can he not, he’s got fucking surveillance units up his ass 24-7 no matter where he is. He knows it’s just a matter of time (before a RICO drops) and how strong their case is. I don’t think he sweats it though. He doesn’t seem to, he’s living in the moment.”

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  1. Sonny

    No mention that while in Margate Joey watched as Sonny Mazzone beat the shit out of his long time separated wife at Johnny’s in Margate. Nobody in the crew tried to stop him and nobody at all helped her till he was arrested hiding in the bathroom.

  2. Sonny

    I am sure you could research and verify my claim. Why hasn’t this been made more of. He beats women! People should know! He was there with Merlino and crew

  3. Scott

    Nice article why are the feds following him 24/7? There are major problems in this country and least of which is joey merlino

  4. manson

    Go Joey! Gotta give this guy props. Say what u want he’s got balls and he ain’t no rat. Made his father proud !