Carime Tramunti – Financier of The French Connection

            Carmine “Mr. Gribbs” Tramunti was born on October 1, 1910 in Manhattan, New York. He lived most of his early years in a tenement building in Harlem. In 1930 at 20 years old, Tramunti accosted a rent collector in his neighborhood robbing him for his collections. He was arrested but later released due to “lack of evidence”, a norm for that time when someone was reluctant to take the witness stand against someone with ties to the mob.

            In July 1931, Tramunti was tried and convicted of assault, a felony. He was sentenced to 6-15 years in prison at the notorious Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. After a brief release and subsequent incarceration for a parole violation, Tramunti was eventually released in 1938.

            After being released from prison, Tramunti went back to his old ways eventually taking over one of the most lucrative craps games in New York called the “Harlem Game”. He headquartered out of The Stage Delicatessen in Manhattan, married and had two children. This is thought to be the time period that he became imbedded with the Lucchese crime family in Brooklyn.

Gambino crime family namesake, Carlo Gambino

Tramunti was tight with future boss of the Gambino crime family, Carlo Gambino and used his friendship and Gambino’s power to climb the ladder within the Lucchese’s. In 1967 with the death of crime family namesake Thomas Lucchese, Gambino pushed the commission to have Tramunti succeed him due to his business leadership and general intelligence. The commission agreed and put Tramunti on the top of the Lucchese family. Although it’s thought the commission only agreed because they were biding their time until the true successor Anthony Corallo was released from prison, they were secure enough in their decision knowing Gambino was there to keep things together for the Lucchese’s.            November 19, 1970 Tramunti was indicted on 14 counts of stock fraud for allegedly taking over an investment firm in Florida. He went to trial and was convicted, however almost a year later he was indicted again for lying to a grand jury about his contact with Lucchese capo Paul Vario. He was sentenced to three years in prison on August 6, 1972.

            Later that year and while serving time for lying to the grand jury, Tramunti and 42 others were indicted on drug charges after law enforcement cracked a major heroin route coming in from France through Canada. The trial was dubbed “The French Connection” and received national headlines. Ultimately Tramunti was convicted of financing the operation after a barista overheard him speaking with a drug dealer. Tramunti nodded his head in agreement during the conversation and that’s virtually all the prosecution needed to put him away.

            The verdict reached across the globe with several prominent journalists voicing their disapproval

Modern day Sing Sing prison cell

based on the evidence to convict. On May 7, 1973 Tramunti was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. On hearing of his sentence he said, “I may be a mobster and may have done bad things but I am not a drug dealer”.

With his incarceration, Anthony “Tony Ducks” Corallo who was then out of prison was place in the top spot. On October 15, 1978 Carmine Tramunti died of natural causes while still serving his sentence.

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