As a former mob boss, Michael Franzese probably has plenty of skeletons in his closet, but there's one particularly grim experience that really keeps him up at night.

He told Lad Bible about it.

The 72-year-old former mobster was a respected lieutenant in the notorious Colombo crime family who turned his back on New York's grim underworld and somehow survived to tell the tale.

Nicknamed the "Prince of the Mafia," he dropped out of pre-med at Hofstra University to take over from his father, Sonny Franzese, after he was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 1967 for a bank robbery.

Describing his father as "the John Gotti of his time," Franzese explained that the mob boss's imprisonment set off a chain of events that led him to become fully initiated into the mob to take his place in a Sopranos-like initiation.

Michael Franzese / Photo: Getty Images

He was officially announced on Halloween 1975 after a "20-year wait" but admitted he was able to jump the queue ahead of many other gang members "out of respect for his father".

And it was just as dramatic as in the movies: the former thug took a blood oath and declared that he would follow a code of honor and behavior known as omerta along with his five best friends.

Jimmy Angelino, Joseph Peraino Jr., Salvatore Michiotta, Vito Guzzo Sr. and John Minerva also pledged their allegiance that night to the Colombo Gang, one of the five New York families that controlled organized crime in the American city.

But over the next twenty years, Franzese lost every one of his friends.

Michael Franzese / Photo: Getty Images

A Brooklyn-born gangster made millions by defrauding the federal government of gasoline taxes.

He was named one of Fortune magazine's "Fifty Most Powerful and Richest Mob Bosses" and Vanity Fair magazine called him "one of the most high-profile mobsters" since Al Capone.

Franzese, of course, managed to take his father's place, but these ratings do not impress him very much.

In an interview with Metro, he said: "What's sad is that 48 of these men are dead and number 49 is still in prison. I'm the only one alive and free from that list."

After a second long prison sentence, Franzese decided to leave the mafia.

He fled New York with his family, which was obviously quite risky for a man of his stature.

But it worked, and the fearless ex-mafia captain became the only head of a major crime clan who could go without police protection and survive.

Although he left this life behind, unfortunately he was not able to get rid of his memories so easily.

Discussing the experience that still haunts him 25 years later, Franzese said: "I think the darkest moment was seeing my friends get killed, especially those that I thought were unjustly killed. And you know, unfortunately, that happened to a lot of guys around me. . And those are the dark moments. I tell people all the time that murder is a terrible thing, and to see it happen, or to know that it happened to someone you really care about, it's hard, at least for me. One of the real horrors of this life is when you make a mistake or get in trouble, your best friend puts you in a room and you never come out. I mean that's part of life."

Michael Franzese / Photo: Getty Images

The former thug has now become a motivational speaker who inspires youth and vulnerable adults against a life of organized crime.

Next month, Franzese will embark on the Re Made Man tour of the UK and Ireland.

It will be recalled that the courier had an affair with the wife of the main gangster and

became a mafia killer

.

A chance meeting with an older woman puts Larry Mazza on the path of one of Colombo's deadliest criminals.