Of 50 top mob bosses in the 1980s, 47 are dead, two are doing life in prison, but one, Michael Franzese, found a way to exit the luxurious but violent life of extortion and racketeering.
“I spend a lot of my time with young people, and they’ll watch a movie like The Godfather and Goodfellas, and they’ll see all of the glamour, they’ll see the riches and the wealth and all,” Michael says on a YouTube video. “I always tell them, ‘But did you see the end of the movie? Who went to jail? Who got killed? Whose family don’t have a father?”
As a kid, Michael wanted to play centerfield for the New York Giants, but he wasn’t good enough. He tried to become a medical student because his dad didn’t want him to follow in his footsteps. But when he had a scrape with the law, Michael decided to join the Colombo family mob.
“I grew up with a distorted sense that good was bad and bed was good,” he says. “I was never addicted really to anything. I was worse. I was a stone-cold criminal. For God to change my heart and mind, it took years.”
In 1980, Michael was named a captain on the streets. With a shrewd cunning to cook up scams, he worked his way up in the mob, generating $5 million a week defrauding gas tax from the government all along the East Coast.
“The gang life is an evil lifestyle,” he says. “The reason I say that is because I don’t know any family or any member of that life that hasn’t been totally destroyed.”
His renown splashed on the pages of Fortune magazine. They profiled him and five others in an article featuring the “most powerful mob bosses in America.”
What brought 15 years of mafia life to an end? It was a beautiful girl named Camille. She was a girl from Southern California who met him in South Florida when he was producing a film. For all she knew, he was just a movie producer.
“I realized I wanted her in my life and that my life was really a direct contradiction to what her and her mom believed,” Michael says. “I respected their faith because it was true to them yeah, and I knew that I had to make some changes.”
So his plan was to marry Camille, move West, serve a couple of years in prison, get out and drop all communications with the Colombo family and turn over a new leaf.
“I figured maybe after 10 or 12 years the guys in New York will forget about me. I’d live happily ever after out in California, so that was my plan,” Michael recounts. “Unfortunately, someone above had a different plan for me and it didn’t work out.” Read the rest: Michael Franzese Christian mob leader