NEW YORK (WTXF) There's word out of New York tonight about the informant who sources say recorded Philadelphia mob boss Joey Merlino as part of a wide sweeping federal indictment. Now a popular website is naming the informant after prosecutors revealed this week that he recorded over 800 conversations.
Merlino and 45 others face charges that stretch from New York to Florida.
FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser spoke with one of the country's top mob experts.
As mob boss Joey Merlino began his defense this week in the latest federal indictment against him, federal prosecutors began handing over the evidence that could put him behind bars for up to 20 years. Evidence that included 800 recorded conversations by an informant in the case.
"There's no question, he was with Joey Merlino quite a bit and from what I understand there are quite a few tape recorded conversations between JR. and Joey Merlino," said Jerry Capeci.
We spoke by phone with Ganglandnews.com editor and longtime New York mob expert Jerry Capeci. He says the informant "JR." is John Rubeo, a Genovese crime family associate. Capeci says Rubeo had big problems of his own with the law.
"And that's what triggered him to become a cooperating witness. He didn't want to go to jail for a long time," he said.
Capeci says that Rubeo worked for Merlino's co-defendant, Genovese Captain Patsy Parrello in New York. Then Parello sent him to work for Merlino in Florida as part of an alleged healthcare fraud scheme involving prescription compound pain relief creams.
"They were making tons of money, apparently it costs $3-$5 to make this pain cream and the doctors were able to bill for $200 to $300. They were making a ton of money," said Capeci.
That money making scheme and other alleged crimes lead to the indictment of Merlino and 45 other defendants 3 weeks ago. Capeci says it also led to a squabble among prosecutors and the FBI.
"There has been some friction between the federal prosecutors and agents in New York and Florida over the healthcare scam.
Capeci and sources tell FOX 29 more indictments could be on the way, but Capeci expects Merlino to take the case to trial.
"This case is designed for quick plea agreements. Everybody take a plea and go away , but I think Joey Merlino is somebody who's ready, willing and able to make the fight," Capeci explained.
Merlino's attorney would not comment on John Rubeo's role in this investigation Merlino is due back in court on Halloween.