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Reviewed by Philip Zozzaro for Readers' Favorite
“This is my true life story. There is no fiction in the story, although at times, it felt like I was trapped in a movie,” declares Joseph Occhipinti in his memoir Framed! I Never Stood A Chance. Occhipinti longed to become a police officer in the NYPD. Strict height requirements kept him from realizing this dream. Occhipinti had a strong work ethic ingrained in him, so he worked as a mailman for a period before enlisting in the US Army. In 1971, he learned of a position in the US Customs Department, where he would monitor the NY piers. Fluency in the Sicilian dialect led to an investigative opportunity that would send Occhipinti on an upward trajectory. After Customs, he found opportunities with the INS. His hard work made cases and broke up organized rings, but also made enemies that led to trumped-up charges that threatened his freedom and life.
Framed! I Never Stood A Chance is a memoir with elements of true crime, forming a moving and harrowing story. The essence of the story lies in the David vs. Goliath battle waged by author Occhipinti in fighting organized crime and corruption and attempting to clear his name when he was tried for violating the civil rights of individuals and money laundering. His resiliency in the face of the entire ordeal is nothing short of stunning as each tribulation would have caused many to surrender. The reader will sympathize with the plight faced by Occhipinti and his family as they dig in and fight a war many think they’d never have to fight. This is a book for those who yearn to learn more about injustice and how the government can be used against the little guy.