Convicted mobster Fat Ange opens Mafia

Angelo Lutz was jailed for eight years for racketeering and extortion in 2001 When he was released from prison in 2008 he opened an Italian restaurant He wanted to extend the business venture but couldn't get a bank loan So Lutz, 49, turned to crowdfunding to raise $100,000 for his business

By Steve Nolan

PUBLISHED: 08:51 EST, 31 October 2013 | UPDATED: 10:29 EST, 31 October 2013

A former mobster has opened a new Mafia-themed restaurant thanks to crowd funding after he was refused a bank loan because of his criminal past.

Angelo Lutz's spent almost eight years in jail for racketeering and opened up an Italian restaurant when he was released in 2008.

But when he tried to expand his business, he was unable to secure funding because he is a convicted felon.

Mr Lutz, whose weight shot up to 400lbs as he perfected his kitchen craft while behind bars, instead turned to family, friends and crowdfunding site Indiegogo to increase the size of his business.

He raised around $100,000 to open new premises in New Jersey.

And although he has left his criminal past behind him, he hasn't forgotten it entirely - the logo of the Kitchen Consigliere restaurant echoes that of The Godfather, a mural painted on one of the walls features him alongside famous fictional gangsters such as Don Corleone and Tony Soprano.

Even the sconces to hold lights look like 9mm handguns.

Lutz made headlines when he was one of seven men convicted in a mob trial in 2001.

Although he was originally sentenced to nine years for racketeering, gambling and extortion charges, his sentence was later reduced to eight years.

He is said to have been a bookmaker and debt collector for the Mafia.

But Lutz says that his life is all about his business now.

He said: ' I never considered myself a gangster. I'm not a gangster. The government considered me a gangster. The government considered me a mob associate.

'But what I am now is a businessman.'

Food has always been a big part of the 49-year-old's life and he is said to have cooked the food at his own 'going away party' the night before he went to prison.

But it was during his time in jail that he honed his cooking skills.

When his restaurant business began to take off, he wanted to expand but couldn't.

He said: 'I couldn't get conventional bank loans because I'm a felon. I broke the law. Shame on you forever, for life.'

Since then he has managed to raise almost $100,000 for renovations from investors and crowd-funding for his restaurant, which features home-style Italian classics.

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