Organized crime crackdown pinches Merlino


On Aug. 4, a racketeering indictment issued through the U.S. Attorney’s Office on behalf of the Southern District of New York netted the arrests of South Philly product Joey Merlino and 46 other alleged members of La Cosa Nostra. The document contends the 54-year-old, whose arrest occurred in Boca Raton, Fla., helped to lead the East Coast LCN Enterprise, which, according to prosecutors, involved New York and Philadelphia mobsters engaging in illegal gambling, gun sales, and health-care fraud. Authorities added that Merlino and two other men ran an illegal casino dubbed “The Yonkers Club” in New York, sold illegal cigarettes with a street value in excess of $3 million, and orchestrated credit card fraud.

The indictment claims Merlino participated in three sports gambling businesses and involved himself in a scheme to bribe doctors to give unnecessary prescription compound cream to patients. If Merlino, whose 2011 release from federal prison came after he had served time on a racketeering conviction from a decade earlier, ends up convicted, he could again feel the federal pinch, as he could face up to 20 years in prison.