Carmine "Mr. Gribbs" Tramunti (October 1, 1910 - October 15, 1978) was a New York mobster who was the titular head of the Lucchese crime family between 1967 and 1974.
Tramunti was born in 1910 in Manhattan, New York and raised in a tenement on 107th street. Tramunti eventually controlled a large part of the numbers racket in Harlem. He also ran the "Harlem Game", one of the major floating craps games in New York. Tramunti was a beefy man who stood 5'10, had a triple chin, and bore a remarkable resemblance to comedian Jonathan Winters. Tramunti's headquarters was the The Stage Delicatessen in Manhattan.
In 1967, with the death of Lucchese boss Tommy Lucchese, Tramunti became the official boss of the Lucchese family. Carlo Gambino, the head of the Gambino crime family, allegedly used his influence to make Tramunti the Lucchese boss. As a result, Tramunti may have been a "front boss", or figurehead; some people believed that during this period Gambino controlled both the Gambino and Lucchese families.
In 1971, Tramunti was acquitted in a multi-million dollar stock swindle. By 1973, Tramunti was also under investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. Ultimately Tramunti was convicted in the famous French Connection case for financing a huge heroin smuggling operation. Supposedly the only evidence against Tramunti was a federal agent saying that Tramunti shook the hand of a guy in restaurant was to seal a deal. Tramunti always denied the charges, stating "I may be a mobster and may have done bad things but I am not a drug dealer".
This was also stated in the movie Goodfellas. In the movie, Lucchese capo Paul Cicero (based on the real life counterpart Paul Vario) warns the main character Henry Hill against drug dealing. In his conversion with Hill, he says "Listen, I aint gonna get fucked like Gribbs, understand. Gribbs is 70 years old and the fuckin guy's gonna die in prison, I don't need that. So I'm warning everybody, EVERYBODY. It could be my son, it could be anybody. Gribbs got 20 years just for saying hello to some fuck who was sneaking behind his back selling junk, I don't need that, aint gonna happen to me, you understand."
Some observers felt the case was a miscarriage of justice, including crime reporters Jack Newfeld and Murry Kempton. Tramunti was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo succeeded Tramunti as head of the Lucchese family. In 1978, Carmine Tramunti died of natural causes in prison.