Michael Francis Orlando Jr., a street-hustler-turned-FBI-informant, took the witness stand yesterday at the racketeering trial targeting the Philly mob for its alleged gambling and loansharking operations, and he testified about a mob enforcer paying "his 85-year-old grandmother a friendly visit that Orlando
interpreted as a threat" as reported by John P. Martin for the Inquirer: "If he didn't pay, Orlando knew, he would get
beaten - or worse. 'That's how things get done, through violence and intimidation,' he told a federal court jury Thursday."
Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino, the Philly mobster who served as underboss to Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo during the 1980s, has died in a federal prison in Fort Worth, TX where had been incarcerated for the last 25 years as reported by Troy Graham for the Inquirer.
Chuckie's son, former reputed boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, was released from a federal prison just last year after serving more than a decade on
a racketeering conviction.
An ongoing racketeering trial is targeting the alleged
gambling and loansharking operations of the Philly mob including its
reputed acting boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi.
In the wacko world of gangland a perceived insult can set off a wise guy into a murderous rage, and apparently even the crooning voice of Frank Sinatra once was known to inflame a savage beast.
Back in the 1960s Antonio "Tony Bananas" Caponigro, the then-consigliere for the Philly mob, got his panties in a bunch when Ol' Blue Eyes shushed him during a performance, and after that "Tony wanted to . . . kill him" according to Joseph "Scoops" Licata who is a reputed capo allegedly in charge of the Philly crime family's North Jersey operations.
The 71-year-old Licata is one of the seven defendants in the ongoing racketeering trial targeting the Philly mob, and he recounted the bad blood between Caponigro and Sinatra during a mealtime conversation which was secretly recorded by Gambino-soldier-turned-government-witness Nicholas "Nicky Skins" Stefanelli as reported by George Anastasia for The Inquirer.
The government's first witness took the stand on Friday at the racketeering trial targeting the Philly mob, and bookmaker-turned-informant Henry Scipione testified that defendant Anthony Staino "had threatened 'to put a bullet in my head' in a dispute over . . . unpaid loan-sharking debts" as reported by George Anastasia for The Inquirer. However, Staino never made good on the alleged threat, and under cross-examination by defense lawyers Scipione said that the reputed wise guy otherwise "was often cordial and friendly despite the failure to pay off the loans." Of course, it's hard to squeeze money out of a dead guy.
Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino was released from federal prison in March 2011 after serving more than a decade on
a racketeering conviction, and a TMZ crew caught up with him at the Los Angeles International Airport where the former reputed Philly mob boss said the MTV schlock show Jersey Shore was a "disgrace to the Italians" as reported by William Bender for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Merlino currently is living in Boca Raton, FL where he hopes to enter the bar and restaurant business, and was met at LAX by "Johnny Fratto, son of a mobster and frequent guest on the Howard Stern Show."
In August 2011 retired Teamster William P. Coyman had a fatal heart attack on a Penn
Station platform in New York City after stepping off an
Amtrack train from Boston, MA, and inside his backpack was about $180,000 in cash which now has been divvied up between the federal government and Joseph Burke as reported by David B. Caruso for The Huffington Post:
Just what Coyman was doing with so much cash was unclear. His family
told investigators he had been delivering the money for a company called
180 Entertainment, which listed a Philadelphia home as its business
address. * * * Public records show that the company's business address was a house
owned by a friend of Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, the onetime boss of
the Philadelphia Mafia. Merlino and Burke were incarcerated together at a
federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., in 2009 and 2010.
No charges have been filed in connection with the cash, and the feds took $143,984, and Burke got $35,996. According to "a defense attorney and a Philadelphia entertainment promoter . . . it [the money] was connected to a failed concert deal."