Life After The Mob - New York News

Life After The Mob

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New Jersey is notorious for its mobsters which have been made even more famous by the HBO series, “The Sopranos”. Michael Franzese grew up as the son of the notorious underboss to New York’s Colombo Crime Family. At his most affluent, he generated an estimated $5 - $8 million per week from legal and illegal businesses.

Franzese has managed to accomplish the unthinkable because he is the only high ranking official of a major crime family to ever publicly walk away and survive. “They say when you leave that life you either leave in a coffin or work for the government in the witness protection program. Obviously I’ve done neither.” He said.

In order to make the break, he took a plea, paid a fine, went to prison for 5 years and then moved to the west coast to carry out his parole. He figured that after that time, the people he left behind in the mafia would forget him, but instead at one point there was a contract out on his life and he had problems for years.

During his last 6 months in prison, he was recruited by many professional sports leagues to speak to players about the dangers of professional gambling. Since he got out of jail in 1995, he has developed his life experiences into a speaking career where is has the opportunity to address all different kinds of groups.

Franzese seems most proud of his work speaking to teens and at churches. When teens say they struggle to escape gang life, Franzese uses his life as an example. “I got out of the biggest gang in the world, so don’t tell me you can’t do it.” he tells them.

Franzese also opened up about his thoughts on how the HBO series “The Sopranos” portrayed the mob life. He feels the show wasn’t very realistic. “If a mob boss was every visiting a psychiatrist, he’d be in the trunk of the car by the end of the week along with the psychiatrist.” He said.

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