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Ex-Mafia Boss

'Jersey Shore' Guys Are

'Disgrace to the Italians'

10/18/2012 11:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Ex-Philadelphia mafia boss "Skinny Joey" Merlino -- who served 12 years in federal prison for racketeering -- says the guys from "Jersey Shore" are a big, fat "disgrace to the Italians" ... seriously.

Merlino -- who was released from the slammer last year -- was at LAX yesterday, where he was picked up from the airport by Howard Stern's favorite mob family member Johnny Fratto.

It's unclear why Joey is in L.A. -- but as Johnny drove off with Merlino riding shotgun, he picked an interesting song choice to bump in his car ... Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom."

FYI -- Merlino was rumored to have been a heavy gambler before he got locked up ... and when we asked if he had any advice for Harvey (who's been getting killed with his NFL picks) ... "Skinny Joey" had one solid piece of advice ... and it involves one Thomas Edward Patrick Brady.

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