Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Genovese associate linked to trash hauling dies following complications from COVID-19

Carmine “Papa Smurf” Franco, a reputed Genovese Crime Family associate who became a leader and innovator in the trash hauling industry in New Jersey, Rockland and Westchester, died Monday following complications from COVID-19.

Franco, 85, who’d recently lived in the Bears Cove townhouse development in Ramsey, made his name in the waste industry over a five-decade career.

He designed and built the country’s first materials recovery facility and New Jersey’s first transfer station, among other projects, and led the charge that produced a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the Rockland town of Clarkstown that changed government’s involvement in the industry.

Franco, who became infamous as a high-level mob associate, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in fines in 2014 for running a multiple-family scheme to control the waste-hauling industry in the New York metropolitan area.

Up to that point, Franco enjoyed a decades-long reign over the industry.

It began soon after he and his brother, Salvatore, established a trash-hauling business in Hillsdale with a single truck and helper in 1963. They later began sorting waste for profitable recycling at the Ramapo Landfill in the 1970s.

Together, the brothers collected cardboard and more valuables from the waste of Macy’s, Toys R Us and other companies. Before long, SalCar was building materials recovering facilities along the East Coast.

The brothers eventually were banned from the industry, along with Carmine Franco’s sons, after they admitted defrauding New Jersey and the Bergen County Utilities Authority.

Federal authorities said “Papa Smurf” nonetheless continued to control waste management companies fronted by straw owners despite two convictions and resulting sentences of six and nine months.

His soldiers steal garbage containers and hundreds of tons of cardboard from rivals and then resell them, they charged.

An indictment returned by a grand jury in the U.S. Southern District of New York in Manhattan said Franco used his position as “godfather” to direct local “control and operation of waste hauling businesses.”

Franco, formerly of West Nyack and Washington Township, eventually pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering, mail and wire fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen cargo.

He admitted during his plea that he joined forces with rival mob families to thwart government efforts to clean up their industry while seizing control of legitimate businesses by strong-arming their owners.

He also admitted purposely overbilling customers of the C&A Carbone waste transfer station that he controlled on Western Highway in West Nyack.

Franco, who got his nickname from fellow wiseguys, was released on June 11, 2015 after serving his year-long sentence, Federal Bureau of Prison records show.

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 a great-granddaughter.

Arrangements hadn’t yet been announced.



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