Merlino back in Philly for parole hearing

Reputed former Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Merlino is back in the city for a parole violation hearing just months after walking free following a decade in prison.

Federal probation authorities are alleging that he was seen meeting with other convicted felons and members of the mob in violation of his parole.

Fifty-two-year-old Merlino was arrested in 1999 and sentenced to 14 years in prison on a racketeering conspiracy conviction in 2001. He said he planned to open a Miami restaurant following his release.

Defense attorneys argued in advance of Friday’s hearing that their 52-year-old client abided by all provisions of his probation while living in Florida. They suggested that an encounter with a former co-defendant was a “chance encounter.”

Prosecutors called that suggestion “laughable.”

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