Veteran organized crime reporter and author George Anastasia (seen in the bottom photo) offers a piece at Bigtrial.net on Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino (seen in the above photo) and the Fed’s big East Coast mob case
Brad Sirkin has folded his cards.
The prolific, enterprising mob associate and sometime driver for Philadelphia Mafia boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino has agreed to cop a guilty plea in that sweeping but flawed racketeering conspiracy indictment in Manhattan Federal Court, and also to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in a more pointed and apparently airtight case against him and seven co-defendants in federal court in Tampa.
Merlino, on the other hand, is hanging tough and is prepared to go to trial in Manhattan where several other defendants also have opted to take deals. The insurance scam, the central charge in the Tampa case, is just a small piece of the broader New York indictment.
Sirkin, in a plea agreement filed in Florida, admitted his role in what authorities have alleged was a $157 million insurance fraud scheme that included kickbacks to doctors and pharmacist who knowingly wrote and filled bogus prescriptions for what authorities said were "compound medications, chiefly pain creams and scar creams, irrespective of medical necessity."
Sources said insurance companies were billed from $500 to $1,000 for a tube of the bogus cream with many prescriptions written with up to 10 refills. The mob was late arriving to the scam involving compound creams which have been described by insurance company investigators as the "snake oil of the 21st century" and which have, according to early investigations, generated tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent insurance reimbursements.
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