Shmueli, the movie?

A reader suggests that Shmueli's adventures could be made into a movie.... with lookalike Hank Williams Jr.

We found this posting referring to our series on Shmuel Shmueli rather amusing and have copied it in full:!topic/not-honyaku/m16piOCOSIQ


Before yesterday, I had never heard of the unusual name “Shmuel Shmueli”.

At the local library, I picked up a copy of the free local weekly ArtVoice

(dated December 3-9, 2015) and read an article titled “Conman Extraordinaire Shmuel Shmueli Comes to Niagara Falls”, written by one Frank Parlato.

The name Frank Parlato is vaguely known to me as a real estate developer here in Western New York, somewhat in the same category as Carl Paladino, who unsuccessfully ran for governor against Andrew Cuomo in 2010.

While reading this article, I wondered whether the facts could be made into an attention-holding movie scenario, and I remembered your praise of Aaron Sorkin for his ability, through judicious repetition, to make a successful movie script out of a dull topic like sabremetrics.

I thought:  No, to make an interesting movie, the raw facts of this case need to be embellished with a few car chases and explosions, and maybe a narrow escape from being swept over Niagara Falls.  I also thought of a previous conman from 1820 who proposed developing Grand Island (in the Niagara River between the U.S. and Canada) as a homeland for the world’s Jews.  See the section “Ararat city”in

(“Some have speculated whether [Mordechai M.] Noah’s utopian ideas may have influenced Joseph Smith, who founded the Latter Day Saint movement in Upstate New York a few years later.”)

Looking online for a copy of this article to bring to your attention, I found which is an episode previous to the Dec. 3-9, 2015 article; this latter article is more interesting (involving a Hong Kong investor and a giant hole in the ground in downtown Niagara Falls) and ends with “Stay tuned as we report further on one of the great rascals of our area, the amazing conman, Shmuel Shmueli.”

Anyway, feel free to pass on this obscure report to any highly paid scriptwriter of your acquaintance, or to develop the script and become a highly paid scriptwriter yourself.

— Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

P.S.  This seems to be Part 1, so maybe you should start reading here (if at all):

From a comment:  “Unrelated aside, when I saw the photo accompanying

this story, I thought that was Hank Williams Jr.  He has found his doppelganger!”

(Hey, this could be HWJr’s first movie role.)

Will the role of Shmuel Shmeuli (above) be played by Hank Williams Jr. (below)?



About the author

Frank Parlato

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About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083