Former mobster-turned-Christian: Jesus is 'my hero'

Jens Astrup/Play the Game/FlickrMichael Franzese

Former mobster Michael Franzese spoke openly about his violent past and redemption of Christ in a recent interview.

Franzese now speaks to audiences across the country through his Christian ministry, and he will star in a documentary, "God the Father," slated for an October release.

The minister is the son of Colombo underboss John "Sonny" Franzese, and dropped out of college to become a gangster.

"I ended up creating a scam to defraud the government out of tax on every gallon of gasoline," he told Breathecast. "At one point it was close to $0.40 a gallon and I was selling half a billion gallons of gas a month. You do the math - it was a lot of money.

"That kind of life is very violent, and, unfortunately, if you're part of that life you're part of the violence and there's no way to get around it. If anybody tells you differently they're probably not being honest with you. So unfortunately it was part of my life."

He eventually became a captain in the Colombo crime family, and served time in prison for racketeering, counterfeiting, extortion, and tax fraud. While incarcerated, Franzese, 63, renounced his Mafia oath, and dedicated his life to Christ.

Franzese thanked the Lord, and his wife, Camille, for saving his life.

"It was her love of God and her foundation in faith that is what has kept us married I believe, and we're very much in love," he said.

"I tell anybody that's having any kind of struggle in their life, I don't know how to get through struggles without Jesus Christ. He's been my hero, my savior and every other thing that I.... Everything that I've had are only blessings that I attribute to my relationship with Jesus."

"God the Father" will include archival footage, interviews, re-enactments, and animation. "God's Not Dead" distribution company Freestyle Releasing will present the film, which is produced by Moshe Diamant, directed by Simon Fellows, and executive produced by Sagiv Diamant and Jonas McCord.