The reputed Colombo crime family underboss with local roots, John “Sonny” Franzese, passed away this week “of natural causes at a nursing home in NY” at the age of 103, according the NY Post.
Franzese was raised at 346 Leonard St. and was recruited into the life of organized crime at a young age, leading to his alleged involvement in the murder of dozens of people. Prior to his release in 2017 after serving eight years in prison on racketeering charges, he was the oldest prisoner in Federal custody at the age of 100.
Franzese previously was sentenced to 50 years (and violated parole several times) for bank robberies in a 1967 and notably never cooperated with investigators despite potential sentence reductions.
According to Newsday:
Linked by law enforcement to multimillion-dollar bookmaking, loan sharking and extortion rackets and caught on tape alluding to multiple murders he claimed to have committed, he remained mute through more than 35 years behind bars as mob boss after mob boss violated the mob’s code of silence in exchange for lighter prison sentences.
He was silent, even though he hated prison. “I could never give a guy up because I knew what jail was,” he said. “I wouldn’t put a dog in a jail pod.”