Monday, May 22, 2017

Merlino Turns Down Plea Offer In Big Mob Case

Reprinted with permission from  Gang Land News.

By George Anastasia


Brad Sirkin has folded his cards.


The prolific, enterprising mob associate and sometime driver for Philadelphia Mafia boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino has agreed to cop a guilty plea in that sweeping but flawed racketeering conspiracy indictment in Manhattan Federal Court, and also to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in a more pointed and apparently airtight case against him and seven co-defendants in federal court in Tampa.

Merlino, on the other hand, is hanging tough and is prepared to go to trial in Manhattan where several other defendants also have opted to take deals. The insurance scam, the central charge in the Tampa case, is just a small piece of the broader New York indictment.

Sirkin, in a plea agreement filed in Florida, admitted his role in what authorities have alleged was a $157 million insurance fraud scheme that included kickbacks to doctors and pharmacist who knowingly wrote and filled bogus prescriptions for what authorities said were "compound medications, chiefly pain creams and scar creams, irrespective of medical necessity."


Sources said insurance companies were billed from $500 to $1,000 for a tube of the bogus cream with many prescriptions written with up to 10 refills. The mob was late arriving to the scam involving compound creams which have been described by insurance company investigators as the "snake oil of the 21st century" and which have, according to early investigations, generated tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent insurance reimbursements.

Sirkin, 54, who has a 1992 federal conviction for conspiracy and wire fraud, faces a maximum 10-year sentence in the Florida case and up to 20 years in New York. Under terms of the plea, the sentences are to run concurrently.  But based on sentencing guidelines, Sirkin is probably facing from four to five years in prison.

He has also been ordered to pay $2,552,309 in restitution.

Wayne Kreisberg, another Florida business associate of both Merlino and Sirkin has also cut a similar deal with the feds. Like Sirkin, Kreisberg is charged in both New York and Tampa.

Sirkin and Kreisberg have signed plea agreements and are to formally enter guilty pleas at hearings in June, according to court documents.

Four other defendants, including a doctor and pharmacist who are now cooperating with authorities, have pleaded guilty in the Tampa case.

Kreisberg and Sirkin were named along with Merlino and six of the 46 defendants in a vague, one-paragraph description that was included in the racketeering conspiracy charge in the Southern District of New York (SDNY).  

The fact that Merlino was indicted in Manhattan rather than Tampa and the fact that the New York case appears to be unraveling has lent support to law enforcement officials in Florida and Philadelphia who have complained about the way the SDNY handled the investigation.

"That's why they're called the Sovereign District of New York," one Philadelphia area law enforcement official said after the indictments were handed up back in August. That's when many investigators in Miami and Philadelphia learned for the first time the extent of the probe.

 "They don't share with anyone," said the disgruntled Philadelphia source. "They have their own set of rules."

Both jurisdictions were largely kept in the dark about the racketeering case and the fact that a cooperating witness wearing a wire was actively recording meetings with Merlino and others in Florida, New York, and New Jersey.

Sirkin and Kreisberg were businessmen who lived and operated in the Boca Raton area, as did Merlino. The SDNY indictment  charges Skinny Joey with insurance fraud and gambling offenses based in large part on recordings made by mob informant John (JR) Rubeo.

Rubeo also interacted with Sirkin, according to one source, and may have met with Kreisberg.

But the handling of recordings  made by the cooperator and the lack of supervision while Rubeo was on the streets in Florida have raised serious questions about whether the feds would be able to use much of that evidence in court. More than one observer has said that Merlino would have a more serious problem had he been indicted in Tampa for what appears to be the same medical fraud charges he is facing in New York.

As previously reported by Gang Land, two FBI agents and their supervisor are facing potential disciplinary action because of the Rubeo fiasco. What's more, as Gang Land has reported, federal prosecutors are now offering sweetened plea deals in which the racketeering conspiracy charge would be dropped in exchange for guilty pleas to the related gambling, extortion, weapons and assault charges that make up the case against most of the New York gangsters.

Earlier this month prosecutors notified Manhattan Federal Judge Richard Sullivan that a "global or near global" plea agreement has been worked out with a "substantial" number of the defendants.

No particulars were provided about the deals but prosecutors said the defendants had a May 19 deadline to accept the offers. Sources have said that Merlino has balked at any plea deal and intends to go to trial.

Merlino is described in the indictment as one of the leaders in what the feds have called "The East Coast LCN Enterprise," a designation that applies to an organization that exists only on paper and in the minds of some federal prosecutors. Mob capos Pasquale (Patsy) Parello and Eugene (Rooster) O'Nofrio share top billing with Skinny Joey.

Parrello, however, has taken a deal, pleading guilty to a superseding criminal information charging him with three counts of conspiracy to commit extortion. The deal will reportedly carry a sentence of about five years for the 72-year-old wise guy.

Sources say O'Nofrio has declined to even consider a plea offer and like Merlino, who has reportedly rejected a deal that would carry a two-year sentence, he is prepared to go to trial.  

Sirkin also has an ongoing problem with the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation which has cited him for illegally operating a landfill in Palmyra, NJ, just outside of Philadelphia.

In a scheme that the commission said underscored loopholes in New Jersey's landfill licensing process, Sirkin was able to run an operation that took in tons of construction debris and potentially carcinogenic materials instead of the grass clippings, weeds and branches that were supposed to be turned into mulch for garden ground covers under the recycling license he was using.

The operation began in 2012, about the same time authorities say Sirkin was wheeling and dealing in medical insurance fraud in Florida. He abandoned the landfill 18 months later after the SCI launched its investigation.

Among other things, the state agency linked Sirkin to an unnamed Bonanno mob capo — identified by sources as Peter (Pug) Lovaglio — who was described in an SCI report as a partner in the Palymra business. Lovaglio, a violent and volatile mobster, was sentenced to eight years in prison earlier this year for assaulting the owner of a sushi lounge on Staten Island. The restaurateur, an ex-New York City police officer, was blinded in one eye after Lovaglio smashed a cocktail glass into his face.

Sources say Lovaglio has been a "secret snitch" for several years, cooperating with the NYPD and federal authorities. As Gang Land noted last week, Lovaglio , now a protected inmate in federal custody, has begun to provide the SDNY details in several investigations, including at least one unsolved murder.  

In addition to his ties to Merlino and Lovaglio, Sirkin is related through marriage to a soldier in the Luchese crime family, according to the SCI report.  

George Anastasia can be reached at George@Bigtrial.net

To read more from Jerry Capeci's Gang Land News click below:
http://www.ganglandnews.com/

43 comments:

  1. Skinny got more troubles in Philadelphia on murder indictments

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  2. Skinny's crazy there's no guaranteed in trials

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  3. Without question doubt or mental reservations ! He will walk on everything !!!It's done !!!

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  4. Theses assholes better go get a job!

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  5. Does Anyone Really Care???!!

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  6. Nice to have you back, George. Any word on what is happening in Philly?

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  7. He'll be walking. Right into a jail cage. Or get killed.

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    1. Joeys only problem is he ain't got no loyal friend to the end !!!That I see anyway !!!Just a bunch of ungrateful people around him that lie and make up stories about him that ain't to true !!!To save their own ass !!I said it before and I'll say it again you can say I'm dreaming if you want to but God is with the man !!

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    2. So true! Yes, God is with this man!

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  8. Gambino guys are in Philly! that's a fact!!!

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  9. Psalm 91 has been prayed and declared over Joey MERLINO !

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  10. Get a life and leave joey alone.worry about terrorist not big companies losing a little money.this country doesn't worry about the right things.

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  11. More tax payer dollars being wasted on another weak case by the government. A drug dealer gets arrested looking at serious time all the sudden turns rat.How many times will the government build a case around a rat

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  12. These chumps never learn and will never learn! ... just go get a regular job ya bums like the rest of us !!

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  13. They're too stupid to get a job!

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  14. God be with Joe! Joe seems to be more collective and smarter then the rest of them!

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  15. Helena V GarilanoMay 28, 2017 at 10:18 PM

    Lord be with Joe. People always turn on you when they have their own selfish reasons. They will do anything to save themselves including lying for a plead bargain.

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  16. EDWIN JACOBS WORKS ON THE ARM! YOU THINK JOEY HAS GIVING MR.JOCABS A RED PENNY.. LOL.. HELL NO!! UNCLE JOE COMING OUT OF POCKET FOR LAWYER FEES 'HA' HELL NO!

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  17. Who gives a rats ass!!!!

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    1. Apparently you do since you responed! These anonymous RATS from philly... i cant believe GEORGE LETS THESE WITNESS PROTECTION GREASE BALLS ON HERE.

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  18. To all the people praying and agreeing I thank you ! We are praying for the man and wishing him buona fortuna .God is with him .Thanks to all of you for being with him too !We are "believing God regardless of the circumstances personal or otherwise "

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  19. You people hear me talk about spiritual things !Well now I'm gonna talk about natural things .And I don't care if it cost me my life to say it !Some of you fake gangsters!You let that man stand there alone to face all those lies !!!What the hell kind of friends is that ???I ask you ???You're gonna wish you had have stood with him instead if caving in for fear and wasting you're time "barganing"for petty privileges!!!Admitting to things that are not true so just so the FBI can make a name for themselves??Is that the way you do things ????Make up you're minds!How long halt ye between two opinions???And a double minded man is unstable in all his ways !!!!Stand Joey !!!You're a champion !!!You are not alone !!!I swear to everything that is holy If I was involved with these false allegations with you I would be sitting right next to you until we walked right out of court TOGETHER !!IM SITTIN THERE WITH YOU NOW AND SO IS THE FRIEND THAT STICKETH CLOSER THAN A BROTHER !Jesus Christ!Shame on the rest of you fake friends !

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  20. Adam you sound just like Roger Vella!

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    1. Furthest thing from the truth I'm not even Italian .But I can understand why you would say that .Certain people have had such bad luck with their so called friends they probably don't even believe it exists anymore .So that's ok .But it does it exists in me !,I know who I am and God knows who i am .I walk it like I talk it !But then again again it doesn't really matter does it ???Or does it ??I meant every comment I have ever put up there before God !I'm 53 years old .I've already been thru this more than once .Roger Vella ??.No sir !

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    2. It's ok people can say what the want but I spent years in a cage reading the only book that was any good .The Bible .And know what I learned ??Great love has no man then he lay down his life for his friends .Just like the one who layed down his life for me and for you and for whoever is listening .Maybe some other people should learn it too .He who tries to save his life will lose it but he who loses his life for my sake will find it .There's more important things in life then saving you're own ass !!

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    3. I'm curious as to why you think I "sound "like Roger Vella ???That can only mean two things..one that you have been true to the game and been betrayed and trust is not one of you're stronger qualities which is understandable or two ..that you yourself are like Roger Vella and don't believe anyone can be otherwise !Cuz someone else's game is stronger than you're own!It's all about motive and objective my friend .Principles !Are you playing baseball alone or are you part of the team ???Team!Friendship still exists .So does loyalty .Consider a marriage where one spouse is unfaithful but the other remains faithful because they have scruples !Until they get rid of the unfaithful spouse and try again .Some people still believe in the sanctity of marriage and some people still believe in friendship!Two wrongs don't make it right !Please do not compare me to Roger Vella .We only see what we are !When a pickpocket meets a saint all he sees are his pockets .

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  21. To thine own self be true wrote SHAKESPEAR then thou canst not be false to ANYMAN.

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  22. SKINNY JOEY HAS DEFINITELY BECOME THE MOST POPULAR WISEGUY IN AMERICA....SOME PPL JUST CANT STAND IT!!! THE GOVERNMENT HAS NO CASE AGAINST HIM.

    LETS GIVE IT UP FOR MASSIMINO...STAINO...NICODEMO


    TRUE STANDUP SIGGYS🔫

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    1. Would you like to bet? I know a lot of killers that became rats

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    2. Agreed no case whatsoever !And he will win !

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  23. You want to bet?

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  24. Staino took a rat plea! And so did Gayeton and Angelina

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  25. Hey siggy nicodemo is a rat!!

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  26. Can't break the unbreakable ... Can't fade the unfadeble !!!!!! All these cats doing heavy time or that did heavy time and now out those are the true stand up "G's" !!!!

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  27. It was never my intention to sow discord or cause dissention.The facts speak for themselves .We know that there is no mafia correct ?John Gotti denied the existence of it till his dying day .Just saying if there was such a thing y would anybody go into it without "counting the cost first "???If there was such a thing which there is not they tell you right there WHATS EXPECTED OF YOU .ITS A LIFESTYLE THATS WHY THEY CALL IT THE LIFE .WHICH WE KNOW IS ONLY HOLLYWOOD PROPAGANDA .JUST SAYIN NOT ALOT OF PEOPLE FOLLOW THRU WITH THEIR "MARRIAGE VOWS",BUT THERE ARE OTHERS THAT DO!LIKE A MARRIAGE YOURE EITHER IN OR YOURE OUT LIKE ANYTHING YOURE EITHER IN OR YOURE OUT .THE REST IS JUST EXCUSES .ITS WHAT SEPARATES THE MEN FROM THE BOYS SO TO SPEAK .I PERSONALLY DONT BELIEVE IN A "MAFIA "BUT I BELIEVE IN MARRIAGE AND I BELIEVE IN BEING FAITHFUL AND I BELIEVE IN LOYALTY AND FRIENDSHIP !IF THERE WAS A MAFIA WHICH THERE IS NOT WOULD NOT IT EXIST ONLY IN THE BASIS OF THOSE QUALITIES ??SO IT REALLY DOES NOT EXIST .BUT THERE ARE"A FEW GOOD MEN "WHO POSSESS THESE QUALITIES.SO IF THERE WAS SUCH A THING WHICH THERE IS NOT IT WOULD EXIST IN "INDIVIDUALS "FAMILY !BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER !
    And by their fruits you shall know them.Everybody have a nice day ....

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  28. Like the man said in the movies ...senator we are all part of the same hypocrisy but never think it applies to my family !Leave that man's family out of it see .This between you and I .FBI Forever Bother The Italians .If you had a disagreement with Internal Affairs would you want outside interference especially if know one knew what was going on ???Then why would you interfere in other people's affairs especially when you don't know what's going on. ???And lie about it too ??Just cuz the government says it's against the law doesn't make it wrong .I see the government has the lottery where did that racket come from?How many people have you killed for disagreeing with you ??You're record is far worse than any "ethnic group"that I know of !I could name alot if names of people that lied to save their own ass .But I won't do it .And you believe those stories??Oh God !Please!Power without character is satanic !

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  29. Joe b. Your a clown!!!!

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  30. Im sideing with the Irishman Griffin and Mitchell i say he walks !

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