If you ask anybody around town, they’ll have their perception of the Mafia. Whether it be The Godfather trilogy, Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award winning Goodfellas, or cross decade hearsay – the Mafia has been depicted in countless ways, some accurate some not. But can we ever say we have a true idea of the inner workings of one of the world’s most secretive, enigmatic, and revered hierarchies?

Step forward Michael Franzese who at the height of his career as a ‘made’ Caporegime (Captain) of the revered Colombo crime family that ran New York alongside four other family mobs across multiple decades, was defrauding the U.S Federal Government of up to $35 million a month with a gasoline bootlegging scheme through his criminal enterprise.

According to Vanity Fair and Fortune Magazine, this made Michael one of the most powerful men in the city, and his high-profile political and celebrity associations made him a man of distinction, commanding control, and respect.

There is not much that Michael hadn’t seen, and there is not much that he hadn’t done, to be part of a life he now brands as ‘evil’ and ‘destructive’.

But in 1995, following several years in prison on racketeering charges, Michael took the unprecedented decision to publicly step away from the mob to live a reformed life. What would follow would be several contracts on his life as the criminal family he once served sought after his death.

Now, steered by his faith and devotion to God, Michael personifies redemption as he guides others to avoid the path of deceit, crime, and violence he once chose. In addition, Michael connects with youth worldwide and serves as a motivational speaker to those at a crossroads between good and bad, or those who have committed wrongdoings but seek redemption.

Michael Franzese is a living example of the ability to turn one’s life around, regardless of any dark details the past may hold.