Mob Figure 'Skinny Joey' Has 2 Years to Get Buff

Merlino will spend them in prison after pleading guilty to illegal gambling
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2018 11:28 AM CDT
Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino leaves Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/LarryNeumeister)
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(Newser) – Reputed Philadelphia mob boss "Skinny Joey" Merlino says he plans to spend the next two years working out. Granted he won't have much else to do in federal prison. Merlino—who previously spent 12 years behind bars for racketeering, conspiracy, and assault (and was twice acquitted of murder)—was sentenced to the maximum two-year term Wednesday after pleading guilty to illegal betting in April, reports NBC Philadelphia. "Enough. Let's move on," US District Judge Richard Sullivan told him. "You've certainly spent enough time in courts and jails for a lifetime." Required to report to prison in 45 days, the 56-year-old left Manhattan federal court telling reporters, "President Trump is right—they've got to outlaw the flippers," a reference to presidential comments in August.

Still, Merlino's guilty plea was a big step: It was the first time he admitted wrongdoing in court, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Arrested in a 2016 crackdown on an East Coast syndicate accused of extortion, loan-sharking, illegal gambling, and fraud, Merlino first took his case to trial, but jurors were deadlocked. Though the ultimate sentence wasn't the one Merlino's attorney wanted—he requested half of any sentence be served on house arrest—it was a lighter one than Merlino could've expected if convicted at trial, especially given what prosecutors had to say. "The experience of standing trial twice for murder did not sufficiently discourage him from engaging in illegal activity," they noted, describing a steady unconcern for the law. (This mob boss was released from prison years early.)

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