After Being Released From Prison, Mobster Returned to Crime - NBC New York

After Being Released From Prison, Mobster Returned to Crime

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    Gang Member Allegedly Planned Hit With Smuggled Phone
    AP
    FILE - In this Feb. 20, 1997 file photo, Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino talks to the media outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia. U.S. Magistrate Judge William Matthewson ruled Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla., that Merlino be released on house arrest and wear an ankle monitor. Merlino is charged with allegedly taking part in a health care fraud scheme where conspirators got corrupt doctors to bill insurers for unnecessary prescriptions for expensive compound creams in exchange for kickbacks. (AP Photo/ H. Rumph, Jr.)

    A notorious mobster from Philadelphia nicknamed Skinny Joey is on trial in New York on charges he returned to his life of crime after his release from prison.

    Jury selection was completed Monday in the federal fraud case against Joseph Merlino. Opening statements are expected on Tuesday.

    The 55-year-old Merlino has pleaded not guilty to charges he was part of a health care scheme to bill insurers for unnecessary and excessive prescriptions.

    Merlino was among nearly four dozen reputed members of an East Coast crime syndicate arrested in a 2016 sweep. Most have pleaded guilty.

    Merlino has repeatedly beaten murder charges in past cases but served nearly 12 years in prison for racketeering before being released in 2011. He has claimed he retired from the mob for good.

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