Michael Franzese was raised in a life of crime and was once a member of the Columbo Crime Family. But after two stints in prison he vowed to change his life and ultimately left the mob – The only person to his knowledge that has ever been able to leave the life of their own accord. He joined Chad on Flight 750 Wednesday to tell his remarkable story.
Franzese insists that he originally got involved in the mob for two things. Number one, he wanted to get his dad out of prison. Number two, he wanted to make some money.
“My dad said in this life, money is power. And I was motivated. I was fortunate that I knew how to use that life to benefit me and I just went on to make a lot of money. I basically figured out a scheme to defraud the government out of taxes on every gallon of gasoline, both state and federal.
Franzese also explains that the ability to get out of the mob with his life is truly an accomplishment.
“In that life – Especially today – If you live through that life, die of old age and die free, you’ve really accomplished something. So I figured my chances of surviving were as good or maybe better than inside the life.”
Franzese also explains that in all his time with the mob, there were only two nights that he was truly frightened. And one of those night’s was the night that he was busted for a parole violation and forced to go back to prison. He suggests that that night, he thought he was going to lose his wife, his children, and everything that truly mattered to him.
“I tell people all the time, the worst emotion you could ever feel in your life is hopelessness. When you feel that everything that’s dear to you is gone…It’s really the worst feeling in the world.”
Franzese later explains that when he was in prison, one of the guards gave him a Bible and from then on he was a changed man.
“I picked it up and just threw it against the wall. I was really upset with God and everybody else in my life. But then I picked it up, started reading it, and it really came alive to me. I think God spoke to me that night and kind of started to ease some of the pain that I was going through. And from that night on, it was all I had in there, but it was everything that I could have.”
And the most important thing to take away from the whole interview is the fact that people can always change and that there is always hope.
“People can be encouraged by seeing what I went through and I was able to survive in my life and they should realize that if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”
This is quite possibly the best interview we have ever had on the show. Do yourself a favor and take a listen to the interview and be on the lookout for several projects from Michael Franzese including: Blood Covenant the movie, the Definitive Guide to the Mob a History Channel series, and a new book entitled Mafia Democracy.