Reputed Mob Boss, Trash-Hauling Giant Carmine ‘Papa Smurf’ Franco Of Ramsey Dies
Carmine “Papa Smurf” Franco, a well-known head of the Genovese Crime Family who became a leader and innovator in the garbage disposal industry in New Jersey, Rockland and Westchester, died Monday of the aftermath of COVID-19.
Franco, 85, who recently lived on the Bears Cove townhouse complex in Ramsey, made a name for himself in the waste management industry over five decades.
He designed and built, among other things, the country’s first materials recovery facility and the first transfer station in New Jersey, and led the indictment that led to a US Supreme Court ruling against the city of Clarkstown, Rockland, that changed the government’s engagement in the industry.
Franco, who became notorious as a high-ranking mob worker, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison and fined more than $ 2.5 million in 2014 for running an apartment building program to control the waste transportation industry in the metropolitan area of New York.
Up until that point, Franco had ruled the industry for decades.
It all started shortly after he and his brother Salvatore started a rubbish transport company in Hillsdale in 1963 with a single truck and helper. They later began sorting waste for profitable recycling at the Ramapo Landfill in the 1970s.
Together, the brothers collected cardboard and other valuables from the waste from Macy’s, Toys R Us and other companies. It wasn’t long before SalCar started building materials recovery facilities on the east coast.
The brothers were eventually banned from the industry along with Carmine Franco’s sons after admitting cheating on New Jersey and the Bergen County Utilities Authority.
Federal authorities said that despite two convictions and resulting sentences of six and nine months, “Papa Smurf” continued to control the waste disposal companies faced by straw owners.
His soldiers steal dumpsters and hundreds of tons of cardboard from rivals and then sell them on.
An indictment returned by a grand jury in New York’s Southern District, Manhattan, said Franco used his position as “godfather” to direct local “control and operations of waste transport companies.”
Franco, formerly of West Nyack and Washington Township, eventually pleaded guilty to extortion, mail and wire fraud, and international transportation of stolen cargo.
During his plea, he admitted that he had teamed up with rival mob families to thwart the government’s efforts to clean up their industries while taking control of legitimate businesses by heavily armed their owners.
He also admitted to deliberately overwhelming customers at the C&A Carbone waste handling station he controlled on the Western Highway in West Nyack.
Franco, who got his nickname from fellow Wiseguys, was released on June 11, 2015 after serving his one-year sentence, according to Federal Bureau of Prison records.
Franco died Monday at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan.
He is survived by Mary, his wife of 61 years, their children Albert, Lucille, Angelo and Joseph, 11 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Agreements had not yet been announced.
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