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COVER STORY

Former mafia captain now works for a new boss. Referred to by the media as, ‘The Prince of the Mafia’ and ‘The Yuppie Don’, Michael in his day whilst being involved in the Mafia was generating $6-8 million a week masterminding legal and illegal activities. Michael Franzese’s rise in the Colombo family came from the infamous gasoline bootlegging rackets, which were very lucrative for the family. Working with the Russian Mafia, Franzese sold millions of gallons of gas. He is now the founder and chairman of the Breaking Out Foundation. Breaking Out is dedicated to educating, empowering, and equipping youth to face life’s challenges, especially gambling addiction.

then I married Camille. I had not come to Christ at this time I was on the edge. I actually met Christ while I was in prison. It was real for me – I did five years in jail and came home for 13 months – then I violated my terms and went back for four years and 29 months and I spent seven days in a 6 x 6 cell every day. During that time I read my Bible a 1000 times and made so many notes. My wife sent me over 400 books. I read books on every religion – I wanted to make sure - I read books on everything. I read them all and came to the conclusion Christianity was the real deal – I did so much study and research. It became real to me. Jesus first appealed to my intellect then to my heart.” When Michael came home from prison he didn’t know what to do, as people knew about him and his activities. The government wanted him to be a witness but he denied this. People were looking for him so they had to move around then God led him to share his story. “People feel you can’t walk away from the Mafia but this is powerful evidence that God is at work in my life,” Michael said. “I try to encourage others that any sin is forgivable. God’s grace extends to all of us. The message is resonated very powerfully. People struggle more and more in the US, it is changing for the worst; people are moving away from God; they are struggling. My testimony is resonating with many around the world.” So, was there any danger for Michael from the Mafia after he left? “I have always had God’s protection,” he said. I asked him if members of the Mob were trying to get to him. He replied, “Not actively but I can’t go back to Brooklyn in New York because there is a contract still on my life. One of the main things is I never put any one away but people are still upset with me. The boss

of my family was upset and he put the contract on my life – but now he’s in prison, if he was out he would not leave me alone.” In 1986, Fortune Magazine listed Michael as number 18 on its list of the ‘Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses’. According to a Federal report, Michael made more money for a crime family than anyone since Chicago Outfit boss Al Capone. So how has Michael’s life changed now having met Christ - what is the difference now? “I say this - when you come to the Lord you don’t forget all the former years. Draw closer to God and he will draw near to you. God allows me to resist temptation – he transformed my heart and my mind, I am a new creation. It’s important to surround myself with good people who love the Lord and to be nourished. I have become friends of many of the pastors in the US and my wife keeps me on the ‘straight and narrow’. We need to be in fellowship. I still have many struggles. My father is still in prison. My brother is in the witness protection program – he tried to hurt me but God has given me a peace of mind. I am in ministry now, however I didn’t intend to go into ministry, but now God has honoured that.” Michael spends a great deal of time ministering to youth and counseling juvenile delinquents and trying to educate them to tell them a life of crime is a dead end street. He wants to lead the youth to the Lord by example. “They really listen to me as I have credibility – I survived,” he said. “I believe missionary work is important. We are responsible for the world young people live in. There is only one way – through Christ. He equips us in everything.” Lynn Goldsmith Editor

FINAL WORD.

In 1986, Fortune Magazine listed Michael as number 18 on its list of the ‘Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses’. According to a Federal report, Michael made more money for a crime family than anyone since Chicago Outfit boss Al Capone. 12 | The Christian Pulse, September 2015

The Christian Pulse issue 3 September 2015  

The latest issue of The Christian Pulse is out now! We have an exclusive interview with ex-mafia man Michael Franzese. We discuss God's view...