– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Forty-four-year-old Louis Ferrante hasn’t led a life that might naturally lead to business consulting. As a teenager growing up in Queens, New York, he stole car batteries that he “sold for $10 to get a slice of pizza and play video games.” Later, Ferrante moved on to stealing cars for joy rides, then taking orders from body shops looking for cheap parts. From there, it was a short leap to hijacking trucks and selling their contents through a neighborhood “fence.”

Eventually, Ferrante ran his own crew as an associate of the Gambino family. “When you’re hijacking trucks on the street in Queens, the Mafia is going to hear about you,” he tells me. “It’s not like they come down and say, ‘We’ll kill you if you don’t pay us.’ They take you under their wing.”

In fact, Ferrante might still be a mobster today had state law enforcement and federal agents not taken him down while he was still in his 20s. But even high-powered defense attorneys like Barry Slotnick couldn’t save Ferrante from what would eventually be more than eight years in prison, where he says he fell in love with books -– and out of love with the Mob.

Explains Ferrante: “When someone was killed, you didn’t ask what happened because if you did, they’d want to know why you asked and you’d be dead, too. But I always assumed the guy deserved to die.” In jail, playing cards with “the killers of people I knew,” Ferrante says it became apparent that most of the murders were fueled instead by simple greed. He decided that “however long I have to do (in jail) I will, but when I get out, I want to be done.”