The Daily Mail offers a piece on reputed Philadelphia Cosa Nostra crime family boss Joseph Merlino (seen in the above photo) being released on bail
Joseph Merlino, also known as 'Skinny Joey', may soon have to get used to a steady diet of prison food.
The man who is widely believed to be the head of Philadelphia's largest organized crime ring was likely to be released on Friday after a federal judge granted him $5million bail, according to the Associated Press.
Merlino, 54, has been ordered to stay at his home in Boca Raton, Florida, where he will be required to wear an ankle monitor so that authorities can monitor his movements.
US Magistrate Judge William Matthewson said Merlino can work from 7am to 7pm at the local restaurant that bears his name, Merlino's, which he says will reopen in October, and travel to New York City, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, including to attend a family day at his two daughters' university. Merlino is expected to be released from Palm Beach County jail later Friday.
Merlino - one of the more flamboyant figures in the American underworld - has already spent nearly half of his life - 20 years - in prison for various criminal offenses, including armed robbery, fraud, and racketeering.
Matthewson asked Merlino for assurances that he will obey the conditions of his release, saying he didn't want to issue a warrant for his arrest.
'Don't worry your honor, you won't,' replied the unshaven Merlino, who was dressed in dark blue jail overalls and shackled at the wrists and ankles. Merlino faces up to 20 years in prison on charges that he was part of a health care fraud scheme where conspirators got corrupt doctors to bill insurers for unnecessary and excessive prescriptions for expensive compound creams in exchange for kickbacks.
He 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.
Prosecutors agreed to Merlino's release, a 180-degree turn from documents filed last week that called him a 'danger to the community' and requested that he be held without bail.
… The massive syndicate - known as the 'East Coast La Cosa Nostra Enterprise' - was formed from a rare pact between the powerful families.
The mob bust saw 46 people - including alleged members of some of New York's biggest Mafia families - indicted on charges including extortion, gun-running and assault, federal officials say.
The FBI and local police swooped on suspected organized crime members last week in a states-spanning bust that sees each suspect facing at least one racketeering charge with a maximum 20-year sentence.
In addition to Merlino, alleged members of the Genoveses, Gambinos, Lucheses and Bonannos - four of the New York mob's infamous 'five families' - were arrested.
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