Formerly a familiar face in Philadelphia casinos, mobster Joey Merlino has plead guilty last week in an attempt to avoid a retrial in the racketeering case which concluded in a hung jury in February. With a rap sheet that covers gun running, extortion, fraud, and racketeering, the judge told Merlino that even stiffer penalties could be imposed should a retrial take place.
Merlino was acquitted in 2001 over two counts of attempted murder and three counts of murder. He was instead convicted of a lesser charge of racketeering and served 12 years in federal prison.
Merlino’s Sports Betting Tips
While on the steps of the courthouse, Merlino took the time to offer some sports betting tips to reporters. He said the 76ers were a sure bet to win the NBA Playoffs with great confidence. He also advised members of the local press to bet on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Merlino was taken into custody in August 2016 with more than 50 others who were alleged to be members of the Gambinos, Genoveses, Lucheses and Bonannos crime families – four of New York City’s biggest and most infamous mob families. The list included names like “Tony the Cripple,” “Muscles,” “Nicky the Wig,” and “Big Vinny.”
Police officials have come to the conclusion that these men composed the leadership of an organization named the East Coast LCN Enterprise. This criminal confederacy was formed from an agreement between New York’s four biggest crime families and the upper echelons of Joey Merlino’s Philadelphia Mob.
The prosecutors in the case allege that the crimes of this group include extortion, loan shark dealing, illicit casino-style gambling, clandestine sports gambling, credit fraud, and medical fraud.
Merlino maintains that he was not the boss of the Philadelphia group. He contends that after he left prison, he immediately retired from crime. He then opened an Italian restaurant called Merlino’s in Florida. There, he said, he and his staff cooked recipes that had been passed down in the Merlino family for generations. But the Merlino’s restaurant closed its doors in late 2016.
Despite the many hours of secretly recorded conversations at the disposal of police and the prosecution team, prosecutors were unable to convince the jury that Merlino was guilty of the racketeering charges in January of this year. Merlino’s team of high powered defense lawyers explained to the jury that they were being lied to by a group of “corrupted turn-coat bribe-takers” who testified against Merlino in order to avoid harsher criminal penalties.
Whether or not Merlino’s days of legal entanglements are over, many are interested in whether or not he will continue to offer sports betting advice. As yet, his predictions have never been wrong. Should he continue making fortuitous sports forecasting, there are a number of people- both inside and outside of law enforcement- who would be very interested in learning about Merlino’s sources.