In 70's and 80's Michael Franzese was a boss in New York's Colombo crime family. He was generating five to eight million dollars a week from legal and illegal businesses and was named one of the biggest money earners the mob had seen since Al Capone, but then he met woman named Camille who changed his life.
That's what Franzese turned his life around. He pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, served a ten year prison sentence, and walked away from the mob for good.
His decision to leave the mob was not well received by other gang members, as well as his own father, who was involved in a contract hit put out on his life.
"I kind of understood it, my Dad is old school, this life came first for him. We've patched it up now...I love my Dad and he loves me...it's hard to explain that life," says Franzese.
His father is now 100 years old and will soon be released from prison, Franzese says he will probably be the one picking him up from prison.
Since leaving behind the mob, Franzese has written several best selling books about his life, including "I'll Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse: Insider Business Tips from a Former Mob Boss."
Franzese was recently in Chicago where he met with prisoners at Cook County jail. He is now meeting with Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin and former gang leaders and is sharing his story in hopes to inspire young people in the gang world to turn their lives around.
"In this life, we are who we hangout with," is what Franzese tries to explain to young people, in hopes they'll surround themselves with people outside of gangs.
"We can't just talk to them and preach to them, we have to give them alternatives to get out," says Franzese.
Franzese recently met with community leaders who want to do something about the violence in this city.
"We can make a difference here...help them lay down their guns and seek a better way in life," he says.
Franzese will be speaking tonight at the Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Barrington Friday night.
You can also find out more about him on his website, michaelfranzese.com.