Michael Franzese (born May 27, 1951) is the son of former underboss John "Sonny" Franzese, a former New York mobster and caporegime of the Colombo crime family. After his father was sentenced to 50 years in prison for bank robbery in 1967, Franzese dropped out of Hofstra University's pre-med program to help support his family. In the early 1980s, he assisted in the implementation of a conspiracy to cheat the federal government of fuel taxes.
By the age of 35, Franzese had risen to number 18 on Fortune Magazine's ranking of the "Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses." Franzese claimed to have made up to $8 million a week at the height of his career. He was sentenced to ten years in jail on conspiracy charges in 1986, freed in 1989, imprisoned again in 1991 for a parole violation, and released in 1994. He moved to California soon after and now works as a motivational speaker and author.
Norby Walters founded a sports management firm with Franzese as a silent partner in 1985. Later, as a prosecution witness, Franzese stated that Walters used his name to scare college athletes into accepting management contracts.