Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Michael "Yuppie Don" Franzese

Michael "Yuppie Don" Franzese (born May 27, 1951) is a former New York mobster and caporegime of the Colombo crime family. Son of Colombo underboss John "Sonny" Franzese, Michael Franzese decided to take care of his father and work for the Colombo family. By the 1980s, he had become a capo. Franzese's rise in the Colombo family was fueled by highly lucrative gasoline rackets.

Working with the Russian Mafia, Franzese sold millions of gallons of gasoline. The family would collect the state and federal taxes, but kept the money instead. At the same time, they were often selling the gas at lower prices than legitimate gas stations.
In 1985, Franzese was indicted on 14 counts of racketeering, counterfeiting and extortion from the gasoline bootlegging racket. In 1986, Franzese pleaded guilty to two counts. He was sentenced to ten years in federal prison with $14 million in restitution. In December 1987, while in prison, Franzese decided to walk away from the Colombo family. Franzese has publicly renounced organized crime, become a devout Christian, created a foundation for helping youth, and became a speaker. He has spoken on hundreds of college campuses as a life skills expert.

Once described as the biggest Mob earner since Al Capone, Michael Franzese has been redeemed as a pew-packing evangelist decrying the evils of his old life, part of the deal is that he now gets to go to heaven and live forever with Jesus.