Skinny Joey Merlino Gets Bail on Mafia Charges

The flamboyant alleged head of the Philadelphia Mafia family will soon be released from federal custody on $5 million bail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman ruled Friday in West Palm Beach that Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino be released on house arrest and wear an ankle monitor. The 54-year-old Merlino is expected to be released from the Palm Beach County jail later Friday.

Merlino is charged with allegedly taking part in a health care fraud scheme where conspirators got corrupt doctors to bill insurers for unnecessary prescriptions for expensive compound creams in exchange for kickbacks.

Merlino, who lives in Boca Raton, was one of nearly four dozen reputed members of an East Coast crime syndicate who were charged last week with racketeering and various crimes including extortion, loansharking, casino-style gambling, sports gambling, credit card fraud and health care fraud. Federal prosecutors say the syndicate operated in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Jersey.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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