Michael Franzese, a former captain of the infamous Colombo crime family, has experienced a remarkable journey of redemption and reinvention. Once listed among Fortune Magazine’s Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses, Franzese’s illicit activities led to multiple indictments and a ten-year prison sentence. Since his release, he has transformed his life, dedicating himself to inspiring others through motivational speaking engagements. With a net worth estimated at $1 million, Franzese continues to captivate audiences as a symbol of redemption and financial reinvention.
Early Life and Criminal Beginnings
Michael Franzese’s criminal beginnings can be traced back to his involvement in organized crime as a young member of the Colombo crime family. Born in Brooklyn, New York in May 1951, Franzese was the son of reputed Colombo underboss John Sonny Franzese. He dropped out of college to pursue a life of crime, eventually becoming a capo regime (captain) for the Colombo family. One of his notable criminal activities was his involvement in gasoline bootlegging rackets, where he sold millions of gallons of gas with the Russian Mafia.
Despite his criminal lifestyle, Franzese achieved significant financial success. In 1986, he was listed as #18 on Fortune Magazine’s Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses. He made more money than anyone else in the crime family since Al Capone. He even partnered with booking agent Norby Walters and extorted a role for Walters in Michael Jackson’s US tour. Franzese also co-founded Motion Picture Marketing.
However, his criminal activities eventually caught up with him. In 1986, Franzese was indicted on 14 counts of racketeering, counterfeiting, and extortion. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $14 million in restitution. He left the Colombo family in 1989 but was sentenced to an additional four years in 1991 for violating probation. Franzese was released from prison in 1994.
Rise in the Colombo Crime Family
During his criminal career, Franzese saw a significant rise in the ranks of the Colombo crime family. Born into a notorious Mafia family, Franzese was the son of reputed Colombo underboss John Sonny Franzese. He dropped out of college and became a capo regime, or captain, for the Colombo family. Franzese’s rise to power was marked by his involvement in gasoline bootlegging rackets, where he sold millions of gallons of gas alongside the Russian Mafia.
As he climbed the ranks, Franzese gained recognition and influence within the Colombo crime family. His ability to generate wealth and his high-profile connections drew attention to his activities. In 1986, he was listed as #18 on Fortune Magazine’s Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses. In fact, he was said to have made more money than anyone else for a crime family since Al Capone.
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Transition to a New Career
Michael Franzese successfully transitioned to a new career after leaving the mafia. Following his release from prison in 1994, Franzese chose to leave behind his criminal past and focus on building a legitimate career. He began by sharing his story and experiences through his autobiography titled ‘Quitting the Mob’, which was published in 1992. This marked the beginning of his new career as a motivational speaker.
Since then, Franzese has dedicated his efforts to inspiring others and sharing his journey of redemption. He founded the Breaking Out Foundation, an organization aimed at helping young people avoid a life of crime and addiction. Additionally, he has become a prominent figure in the speaking circuit, delivering motivational talks and sharing his insights on personal development and overcoming adversity.
Business Ventures and Investments
After establishing a successful career as a motivational speaker and author, Michael Franzese expanded his financial portfolio through various business ventures and investments. With his determination to turn his life around after leaving the mafia, Franzese ventured into legitimate business opportunities to further grow his wealth. One of his notable business ventures is the co-founding of Motion Picture Marketing, a company that specializes in marketing films. Through this venture, he was able to tap into the lucrative entertainment industry and capitalize on his network and connections.
In addition to his involvement in the film industry, Franzese has also made strategic investments in other sectors. While specific details about his investments are not widely available, it is evident that he has diversified his financial interests to generate passive income and expand his wealth beyond his speaking engagements and book sales.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Criminal Activities Was Michael Franzese Involved in During His Time With the Colombo Crime Family?
During his time with the Colombo crime family, Michael Franzese was involved in gasoline bootlegging rackets and sold millions of gallons of gas with the Russian Mafia. He also engaged in activities related to racketeering, counterfeiting, and extortion.
How Did Michael Franzese Accumulate His Wealth Outside of His Criminal Activities?
Michael Franzese accumulated his wealth outside of his criminal activities through various endeavors. He partnered with booking agent Norby Walters, co-founded Motion Picture Marketing, and transitioned to a legitimate career after leaving the mafia.
What Were the Financial Consequences for Michael Franzese After Leaving the Mafia?
After leaving the mafia, Michael Franzese faced financial consequences. He was indicted on multiple counts of racketeering, counterfeiting, and extortion, resulting in a 10-year prison sentence and $14 million in restitution.
Did Michael Franzese Experience Any Asset Seizures or Other Legal Troubles Related to His Criminal Activities?
Yes, Michael Franzese experienced legal troubles related to his criminal activities. He was indicted on 14 counts of racketeering, counterfeiting, and extortion in 1986 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He also faced a four-year sentence in 1991 for violating probation.
What Philanthropic Endeavors or Charitable Contributions Has Michael Franzese Been Involved in Since Leaving the Mob?
Since leaving the mob, Michael Franzese has been involved in various philanthropic endeavors. He established the Breaking Out Foundation to help young people avoid crime and addiction, and he hosts a YouTube show where he interviews individuals and shares stories and lessons from his past.
In conclusion, Michael Franzese’s journey from organized crime to redemption and reinvention serves as a powerful example of personal transformation. Despite his past involvement in illicit activities, Franzese has managed to turn his life around and use his experiences to inspire others.
Through his motivational speaking engagements, philanthropic endeavors, and successful business ventures, he has been able to rebuild his life and make a positive impact on society. With a net worth estimated at $1 million, Franzese continues to thrive as a symbol of hope and change.