“Skinny Joey” Merlino's Out of the Joint

Ex-Philly mob leader now in Florida halfway house

Federal prison officials say former Philly mob leader Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino was released from an Indiana prison and arrived in Florida Tuesday to begin a six-month stay in a halfway house.

Merlino, 49, was convicted of racketeering in 2001 and sentenced to 14 years in prison. He has been in custody since his arrest in June 1999. Merlino was acquitted of murder and conspiracy in 2004.

The Inquirer’s George Anastasia has covered the Philly mob for years. Anastasia shed some light on Merlino’s possible future plans:

According to one source, Merlino is hoping to line up a job in the food industry and has said he eventually would like to open a restaurant in Florida.

At this point, the source said, Merlino has no plans to return to Philadelphia once he completes his stint in the halfway house.

"If he had come back to Philadelphia I think it would have been very difficult for him not do what he does -- Joey being Joey," Anastasia told NBC Philadelphia. "I think part of the reason he opted to go to Florida... was to try and get out of that orbit."

There were conflicting reports as to whether Merlino's wife and children would join him in Florida, Anastasia said.

Fan, follow and download: Get the latest from NBCPhiladelphia.com anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and NBC Philadelphia. Sign up for our breaking news newsletter. And, get breaking news delivered right to your mobile phone -- just text PHIBREAKING to 639710 to sign up. (Message and data rates may apply.)

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us