Ainsley Quick

Written by Ainsley Quick

Modified & Updated: 19 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Michael Franzese, a name synonymous with the world of organized crime, has a life story that is nothing short of fascinating. Born into the infamous and powerful Colombo crime family, Franzese rose through the ranks to become one of the highest-ranking members of the mafia. However, his life took a dramatic turn when he decided to leave the criminal underworld behind and pursue a path of redemption. Today, Michael Franzese is known as an author, motivational speaker, and consultant, using his experiences to inspire and educate others about the dangers of organized crime. In this article, we will explore 21 fascinating facts about Michael Franzese, shedding light on his extraordinary life journey and the lessons he has learned along the way. So, buckle up and get ready to delve into the captivating world of Michael Franzese.

Key Takeaways:

  • Michael Franzese went from a wealthy Mafia life to a successful motivational speaker, proving that anyone can change and inspire others with their story of redemption and resilience.
  • His journey from the Mafia to a life of faith, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy shows the power of transformation and the ability to rewrite one’s own narrative, inspiring others to overcome challenges and embrace personal growth.
Table of Contents

From Mafia Prince to Motivational Speaker

Michael Franzese, once a high-ranking member of the notorious Colombo crime family, has transformed his life and is now a renowned motivational speaker. He shares his personal journey of redemption, resilience, and reinvention with audiences worldwide.

Born into a Mafia Family

Michael Franzese was born on May 27, 1951, into a prominent Italian-American Mafia family. His father, John “Sonny” Franzese, was a feared mobster who rose to power during the Prohibition era.

Wealthy from a Young Age

As a member of the Colombo crime family, Michael Franzese quickly climbed the ranks and became one of the wealthiest mobsters of his time. At the peak of his criminal career, he amassed a personal net worth estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Involved in Various Criminal Activities

Michael Franzese was involved in a wide range of criminal activities, including racketeering, extortion, gambling, and loansharking. He also played a significant role in the gasoline bootlegging industry, which earned him millions of dollars in illicit profits.

Charged with 14 Counts of Racketeering

In 1985, Michael Franzese was indicted on 14 counts of racketeering, including extortion and tax fraud. Facing numerous charges, he decided to leave the Mafia life behind and cooperate with the authorities.

First Mafia Boss to Quit

Michael Franzese made history as the first high-ranking member of the Mafia to leave the criminal organization voluntarily. His decision to walk away from the life of crime was influenced by his desire to protect his family and seek a better life.

Testified Against Mobsters

As part of his cooperation with the government, Michael Franzese provided crucial testimony against fellow mobsters, resulting in numerous convictions. His cooperation played a pivotal role in dismantling the Colombo crime family.

Narrowly Escaped Multiple Assassination Attempts

During his time in the Mafia, Michael Franzese faced several assassination attempts. He miraculously survived these attacks, including a car bombing and a shootout, which further pushed him towards leaving the life of crime behind.

Reformed Catholic Preacher

After leaving the Mafia, Michael Franzese turned to his faith and became a devoted Catholic. He now shares his spiritual journey and spreads messages of hope, redemption, and forgiveness as a preacher.

Bestselling Author

Michael Franzese is a bestselling author, with books such as “Blood Covenant” and “I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse” captivating readers with his gripping life story. His books offer a unique insight into the workings of organized crime.

Strict Witness Protection Program

Due to his cooperation with the government, Michael Franzese entered the strict Witness Protection Program to ensure the safety of himself and his family. He had to adopt a new identity and cut ties with his past life completely.

Resilient Entrepreneur

After leaving the Mafia, Michael Franzese became a successful entrepreneur. He founded multiple legitimate businesses, including a film production company and a sports management agency.

Recognized for his Charitable Work

Michael Franzese is known for his philanthropy and charitable endeavors. He has worked with various organizations to raise awareness and funds for causes such as youth development, addiction recovery, and inner-city education.

International Speaker

As an internationally sought-after speaker, Michael Franzese has shared his story on prestigious stages around the world. He delivers powerful talks on leadership, overcoming adversity, and making positive choices.

Featured in Documentaries and TV Shows

Michael Franzese’s life story has been featured in numerous documentaries and TV shows. His insights into the criminal underworld and redemption make for compelling viewing.

Subject of the Film “Made Men”

The 1999 film “Made Men” was loosely based on Michael Franzese’s life. Although it was a fictionalized account, it drew inspiration from his experiences as a high-ranking member of the Mafia.

Active on Social Media

Michael Franzese maintains a strong presence on social media platforms, where he engages with his followers and shares motivational content. His posts inspire others to overcome challenges and strive for a better life.

Focused on Family and Relationships

Since leaving the Mafia, Michael Franzese has prioritized his family and built strong relationships with his loved ones. He emphasizes the importance of relationships and cherishing the people who matter most.

Regularly Appears on Podcasts and Talk Shows

Michael Franzese is a frequently requested guest on popular podcasts and talk shows. His captivating storytelling and unique perspective on life make for engaging interviews and conversations.

The Rising Star in the Motivational Speaking Industry

Over the years, Michael Franzese has established himself as a rising star in the motivational speaking industry. His powerful messages resonate with audiences of all backgrounds, inspiring them to overcome obstacles and embrace their potential.

The Power of Redemption

Michael Franzese’s remarkable journey showcases the power of redemption and the ability to transform one’s life. His story serves as a powerful reminder that it is never too late to change and rewrite your own narrative.


Michael Franzese is undeniably one of the most intriguing and fascinating figures in the world of organized crime. His journey from being a high-ranking member of the Colombo crime family to becoming an author, motivational speaker, and consultant is truly remarkable. Through his experiences and insights, he has provided valuable lessons on the perils of a life of crime, the power of redemption, and the importance of making positive choices.

From his involvement in money laundering, racketeering, and extortion to his decision to leave the Mafia and pursue a new path, Michael Franzese’s story captivates and inspires. His willingness to share his experiences has not only shed light on the dark underworld of organized crime but has also offered hope and guidance to those who may be struggling with their own paths in life.

With his unique blend of charm, charisma, and wisdom, Michael Franzese continues to make a positive impact on the world, reminding us all that it is never too late to change and redefine our own destinies.


1. How did Michael Franzese become involved in organized crime?

Michael Franzese was born into a family with strong ties to the Colombo crime family in New York. His father, John “Sonny” Franzese, was a prominent figure in the Mafia, and Michael followed in his footsteps, gradually rising through the ranks to become a high-ranking member himself.

2. Did Michael Franzese ever serve time in prison?

Yes, Michael Franzese served time in prison after being convicted on charges related to racketeering, extortion, and tax fraud. However, during his time in prison, he made the decision to leave the Mafia behind and start a new chapter in his life.

3. What led Michael Franzese to leave the Mafia?

Michael Franzese’s decision to leave the Mafia was multifaceted. He became disillusioned with the lifestyle and the constant threat of violence. Additionally, his newfound faith in God played a significant role in his decision to walk away from a life of crime and seek redemption.

4. What is Michael Franzese doing now?

Today, Michael Franzese is a highly sought-after author, motivational speaker, and consultant. He shares his story and provides guidance to individuals and organizations, drawing from his experiences in organized crime and his journey towards personal transformation.

5. How has Michael Franzese’s story impacted others?

Michael Franzese’s story has had a profound impact on countless individuals. His tale of redemption and second chances has inspired many to choose a different path in life, overcome obstacles, and pursue positive change. His message of hope and resilience resonates with people from all walks of life.

If you're fascinated by the world of mobsters like Joe Pesci, motivational speakers such as Liz Murray, or the enigmatic lives of those involved in organized crime, like John Gotti Jr., there's no shortage of captivating stories to explore. Each individual's unique journey offers a glimpse into the complexities of human nature and the power of transformation. So why not dive deeper into these compelling tales and discover the lessons they hold?

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