MERLINO
Joseph S. "Skinny Joey" Merlino arrives at court where he later pleads guilty to resisting arrest and public consumption in municipal court in Longport Thursday 9/24/98.

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly four dozen suspects, including reputed old-school mobsters in New York and Philadelphia, were arrested on Thursday in a massive case charging them with crimes ranging from extortion to illegal gambling.

An indictment filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan accused the defendants of also being involved in loansharking, casino-style gambling, sports gambling, credit card fraud and health care fraud. It said they formed a syndicate operating in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Among those charged were Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, the reputed boss of a Philadelphia crime family. Also named in the indictment was Pasquale "Patsy" Parrello, identified as a longtime member of the Genovese organized crime family in New York City.

One count accuses the 72-year-old Parrello of ordering a beatdown of a panhandler he believed was harassing customers outside his Bronx restaurant, telling a cohort to "break his ... knees." The panhandler was "located and assaulted with glass jars, sharp objects and steel-tipped boots, causing bodily harm," the court papers say.

Diego Rodriguez, head of the FBI's New York office, said in a statement that the indictment "reads like an old school Mafia novel, where extortion, illegal gambling, arson and threats to 'whack' someone are carried out along with some modern-day crimes of credit card skimming."

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments