Michael Franzese went from stealing $8 million a week to reading the Bible and giving his life to Jesus Christ.
Franzese ran an operation for eight years in which he defrauded the U.S. government of tax on gallons of gasoline.
But he has his own ministry now, whose goal is to “help proclaim the transformational power of Jesus Christ to at-risk and often unchurched audiences.”
He says the transition to following Jesus started with meeting a girl for whom faith was very important. Out of love for her, he left the Mafia, went to prison and then got married and had kids. He ended up back in prison, however; and that’s when he truly decided he wanted to follow God.
“I did 28 months and seven days in the hole—24 hours a day, seven days a week, I was in lockdown,” Franzese says. “It was during that time that I became a person of faith, studied my Bible very much and decided that I was going to really try to make a transition in my life. For the last 23 years, I’ve been a very prolific speaker, both on a faith-based side and secular side.
“To say that I’m a fortunate, blessed guy is really an understatement. I attribute that to God having a different plan and purpose for my life. You’ve got to surround yourself with the right people, because in this life, you are who you hang out with. And I have a wife who holds me accountable. I have children who hold me accountable. I have a church that holds me accountable. And this is the way I stay on the right track.”