Michael Franzese was alternately referred to by the media and members of law enforcement alike, as the New York Mob's "Long Island Don" and "The Prince of the Mafia." He was once the primary target of a massive, fourteen agency government task force that "had one assignment - to bring down the Mafia's youngest and most financially powerful new superstar, Michael Franzese." At the height of his mob activity, Franzese was "one of the biggest money earners the mob had seen since Al Capone, and the youngest individual on Fortune magazine's survey of "The Fifty Biggest Mafia Bosses." (Vanity Fair Magazine).
A brief look into Franzese's background provides insight as to why he is sought after to speak about many topics related to organized crime. The son of a kingpin in New York's Colombo crime family, the smart, sophisticated Franzese was long considered an heir apparent to the family's vast power. Becoming a sworn, made member at the age of 24, he avoided the traditional Mafia domains in favor of the enormously lucrative edges of the legitimate business world.
He masterminded brilliant scams, from auto dealerships to union kickbacks, from financial services to the worlds of sports and entertainment, to a multi-billion dollar gasoline tax scheme, all with the help of ambitious tycoons and his own remarkable acumen. His operations in gambling, loan sharking and corporate crime became a target of Manhattan's famed federal prosecutor, Rudy Giuliani, who indicted Franzese on racketeering charges only to come up empty handed in court. More indictments would follow, however, and in a dramatic turn of events for the onetime Mob caporegime, Franzese decided to plead guilty to yet another racketeering indictment, accept a 10 year prison sentence, and then vowed to do the unthinkable - quit the mob.
All of the scheming, scams, and strategies Franzese employed to become the biggest money earner since Capone, according to the FBI, prepared him for a future he never expected. Today, he lectures at leading universities on business fraud and ethics at venues like Vanderbilt, Baylor and Washington State, and spoke to law students at Baylor about legal strategies. He has been featured at FBI Citizen’s Academies and various similar events.
In the corporate world, Franzese has been the conference keynote speaker for Digitech software resellers, Hamilton Safe Company, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, National society of Professional Insurance Investigator, and Security Products Company.