Photograph by National Geographic Channels / David Smoler
Michael Franzese, a former capo in the Colombo crime family and son of notorious Colombo underboss, John “Sonny” Franzese, was one of the mafia’s biggest earners. Alleged to have brought in between $5 to $8 million per week in legal and illegal businesses, Franzese was ranked by Fortune Magazine as one of the “Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses.” In the mid-'80s, Franzese was indicted and plead guilty to federal racketeering charges. While in jail, he found God and made the decision to leave the life. Franzese is the only high ranking member of an organized crime family to leave the life without protective services and live to tell about it. He is the author of a number of mafia-related books, including the autobiography, Blood Covenant. Through public speaking appearances and interviews, Franzese continues to share his past experiences in the life, with the hopes of uplifting and motivating others to make a positive change.