Gangster nicknamed ‘Papa Smurf’ gets one year in prison for ordering men to steal cardboard from trash-hauling competitors



Reputed Genovese mobster Carmine (Papa Smurf) Franco, 78, was sentenced Thursday in Manhattan Federal Court also overbilled customers for his trash-hauling business.

BY  Daniel Beekman  

Now he’s “Inmate Smurf.”
Carmine (Papa Smurf) Franco, a reputed Genovese crime family associate who copped a plea last year in a mobbed-scheme to control the trash-hauling industry in New York City and parts of New Jersey, was sentenced Thursday to a year and a day in prison.
Manhattan Federal Judge P. Kevin Castel admonished the 78-year-old with the cartoon character nickname for ordering his men to steal cardboard from competitors in the dead of night.
He also slammed Franco for cheating customers such as the 92nd Street Y and the Morris Park Boxing Club in the Bronx by overbilling them at a West Nyack, N.Y. waste transfer station.
The judge ripped the trashy behavior after Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Blais said Franco “ensnared” other people, including relatives, in his criminal activities.
“This is plain old theft,” Castel told the defendant. “This is the kind of stuff we learned as little children that we cannot do.”
The judge admitted that the feds presented no evidence that Franco engaged in violence. “But I do see ‘raw criminality,’” he said.
Federal Judge P. Kevin Castel admonished the 78-year-old gangster but said his health and background were mitigating factors in sentencing.
But Castel acknowledged Franco’s advanced age, poor health and hardscrabble background as mitigating factors in handing down a sentence well below the 27- to 33-month range in Franco’s plea deal with prosecutors.
The Ramsey, N.J. man began work at age 15 for his immigrant father’s waste-hauling business, has done charity work with a New Jersey church and suffers from a long list of health problems.
“There’s no question he’s been a very hardworking person ... and very charitable,” Castel said.
Prosecutors said Franco was a ringleader among more than 30 people busted in January 2013.
His lawyer, Michael Critchley, called the sentence “fair and just.”