Carmine was an armed-robber, credit-card fraudster, shylock, and, in the midst of a bloody South Brooklyn gang war, a survivor. These are his stories.
This is the true story of Carmine Imbriale – a gambler, a brawler, a bandit, a bookie, an enforcer. For two decades, Imbriale was a street-level operative in one of the most violent crews in the Colombo Family, and he endeared himself to some of the major figures of organized crime while developing deadly disputes with others.
Now in hiding, Imbriale teams up with true-crime veteran writer Craig McGuire to take you inside the 13th Avenue rackets at the height of their violence. This is the jarring account of his lawless lifestyle culminating in a gang war in South Brooklyn, from which he emerges a survivor.
From his first arrest at 15 for robbing a Coney Island pimp to surviving multiple assassination attempts, Imbriale offers up dozens of too-good-to-be-true tales featuring some of the most notorious gangsters, including Joe Colombo, Christie Tick, Jimmy Ida, Joe Waverly, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, Johnny Rizzo, as well as other lions and lackeys of La Cosa Nostra, and details a beef with none other than Greg “The Grim Reaper” Scarpa Sr.
A young streetwise hustler, Imbriale thought he found loyalty, a brotherhood. Instead, he descended into a world of treachery and deceit, where your best friend is your executioner, and no one gets out alive. But no one expected him to become the domino that helped bring it all down.
From The Book:
In the early 1990s, with the Colombo Family locked in a bitter civil war, the Neddy’s Bar crew in turmoil, Carmine Sessa in hiding, Michael Sessa set his sights on Carmine.
Sessa assembled a hit team that included Joseph “Joey Brains” Ambrosino and another associate, and headed to Staten Island.
The hit crew arrived at Carmine’s home early evening, but not late, with passersby floating by. They circled the block a couple times before rolling into the driveway. Sessa sat in the car as Ambrosino approached, gun ready in pocket, and rang the bell. The plan was to lure Carmine outside on the false pretense Carmine Sessa had emerged from hiding and called a sit-down for the crew. Then, get Carmine Imbriale in the car, shoot him to death, then dump him in a hole in Great Kills. Michael Sessa would plant the seed that Carmine had been whacked by the Orena faction.
By then, Michael Sessa was desperate to wipe out Carmine, with everyone distracted by the war. However, Carmine would not leave his home, which he shared with his wife and children. This was a problem. First of all, according to Mafia rules, involving families in violence was forbidden. Moreover, this was an unsanctioned hit. Michael Sessa never got permission from his brother.
Ambrosino was hand-picked to lure Carmine out because of his close relationship with Carmine. They’d collaborated on dozens of scams, were friends. Michael Sessa knew that out of anyone in the crew, Carmine would more likely trust Ambrosino.
It was a simple plot. What could go wrong?
As the assassin Ambrosino shadowed Carmine’s doorstep, gun locked, loaded, Carmine was rocked by a vicious migraine.
Any other time, Carmine would be answering that bell at his front door, welcoming Ambrosino, going willingly … or been murdered on the spot. Ambrosino had his orders to take the shot if he could do it without witnesses.
Instead, Carmine’s wife, Janet, blocked the way. Ambrosino insisted. Janet resisted.
Sessa and Ambrosino returned the next evening, meeting the same response. In fact, within a ten-day span, they visited Carmine’s three times.
On the third visit, Ambrosino would not be denied.