[This is Part 2 of a series of articles that I am writing about the U.S. v. Parlato Et Al case. Along the way, I will detail what a sham this case is – and how it was orchestrated by two inner circle members of the NXIVM criminal enterprise, Clare and Sara Bronfman, and a conman named Shmuel Shmueli – all three of whom just happened to be represented by the same attorney, William F. Savino. I will also explain how many of the slimy tactics that were used to indict Frank have become the norm in the everyday operations of the U.S. criminal justice system. Readers are encouraged to ask questions – which I will endeavor to answer on a timely basis].
Frank Parlato was indicted by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York (WDNY) on November 20, 2015.
The 28-page indictment included nineteen (19) separate criminal counts plus two (2) forfeiture actions.
While the number of charges makes it appear that Frank is a major crime boss, a closer analysis of the indictment indicates that most of the charges are simply duplications and variations that are based on the same set of facts and circumstances.
Thus, when we look closer at the indictment, we see that it contains:
• One (1) charge of “impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the Internal Revenue Service…in the ascertainment, computation, assessment and collection of…income taxes”.
• One (1) charge of corruptly endeavoring “…to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws.
• Seven (7) charges of making illegal wire transfers.
• One (1) charge of conspiring to commit wire fraud.
• Nine (9) charges of engaging in illegal monetary transactions.
In reality, the nineteen criminal charges mostly involve a handful of financial transactions that are described in different ways in order to allow the prosecution to load up the indictment with what it hoped were enough charges to cause Frank to accept a plea deal rather than risk going to trial.
This is a common tactic that is used by both federal and state prosecutors in order to gain an unfair advantage over defendants in criminal actions.
Indicting defendants for multiple crimes arising out of the same act – AKA “crime stacking” – has become a mainstay for many prosecutors.
In addition to transforming the legal battleground into an uneven playing field, crime stacking also gives judges an inordinate amount of power when meting out sentences.
One of the most common examples of crime stacking occurs when prosecutors charge a defendant with both committing a criminal act and conspiring to commit the same act – which, not coincidentally, was one of the “stacks” in Franks’ case.
In this regard, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that being simultaneously charged with a crime – and with a conspiracy to commit that same crime – are not the “same offense” for double jeopardy purposes even if the two charges are based on the same underlying facts and circumstances.
As a result, whenever two or more people are charged with a crime, they can be – and often are – also charged with conspiring to commit that same crime.
Some Examples of Multiple Criminal Charges for the Same Criminal Act
Here are a couple of real-world examples of how a prosecutor can use crime stacking to put pressure on a defendant to take a plea deal
Example #1: A woman on a plane complained that she had life-threatening allergies and was having trouble breathing. There were two dogs in the cabin and she demanded that they be removed. Instead, the flight crew demanded that she leave. When she stubbornly refused to get up out of her seat, officers were called to remove her. One of them wrapped his hands around her waist and another grabbed her leg, and her pants ripped when they tried to physically lift her out of her seat. The incident was caught on cellphone video – and the woman was arrested and charged with five crimes: disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, disturbing the peace, obstructing and hindering a police officer, and resisting arrest.
Example #2: A man robbed a bank with a fake bomb that turned out to be a disguised sex toy. For that, he was charged with nine felony counts including aggravated assault, robbery, threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction, and possessing a facsimile weapon of mass destruction.
Had the prosecutor in Frank’s case not chosen to utilize “crime stacking”, Frank’s indictment would have likely been limited to the following charges:
• One (1) charge of “impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the Internal Revenue Service…in the ascertainment, computation, assessment and collection of…income taxes”; and
• One (1) charges of making illegal wire transfers.
So, instead of facing a 19-count indictment, Frank would be facing a 2-count indictment.
Just imagine what a different impression that will make on the 12 jurors who are selected to hear his case.
“Mr. Parlato has been charged with nineteen felonies” sounds a whole lot different than “Mr. Parlato has been charged with two felonies”.
Clare Bronfman’s Perjury Leads to Superseding Indictment
One of the key elements of the original indictment – and, indeed, the allegation that was the basis for the FBI to start investigating Frank – concerned Sara and Clare Bronfman.
As set forth in the original indictment, it was alleged that on January 6, 2008, the Bronfman sisters wire-transferred the sum of $1,000,000 into the bank account of Johnston and Peach, a company that was owned and operated by Frank.
What the indictment doesn’t reveal is that Clare Bronfman perjured herself when she testified before the grand jury that ended up indicting Frank.
More specifically, Clare testified that she and Sara had entered into a binding contractual agreement with Frank regarding the work he was to undertake for them with regard to a real estate development project in Los Angeles, CA in which they had invested $26 million.
Clare told the grand jury that she and Sara had signed the agreement.
The lead prosecutor in the case, then-Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Bruce, claimed that he had a copy of the signed document – and promised to provide Frank’s attorneys with a copy of it.
The problem was that neither of the Bronfmans had ever signed any such agreement.
The bigger problem for Clare – and for which she should have been prosecuted for perjury – is that she had also sworn, under oath, in a California case involving the same real estate project, that she and Sara had NOT signed any contractual agreement with Frank.
In addition, Clare had also sworn under oath in a civil lawsuit that she and Sara initiated in 2012 against Frank that the sisters had “loaned” $1 million to Frank “without a written agreement”. That’s another perjury charge that was never brought against Clare.
And so it was that the prosecution had to drop the Bronfman-related charge against Frank in a superseding indictment that was presented to a new grand jury that was impaneled on November 3, 2017.
Because it was a new grand jury, no one on it likely knew anything about the original indictment. And it is extremely unlikely that the prosecution mentioned anything about the fact that it had wrongly charged Frank with a crime related to his business dealings with the Bronfmans.
The new grand jury issued a superseding indictment that was filed on May 23, 2018 – just a couple of months AFTER Keith Raniere was indicted and a couple of months BEFORE Clare Bronfman was indicted in the Eastern District of New York.
The new indictment against Frank – which contains eighteen counts – entirely omits any reference to Frank’s dealings with the Bronfman sisters.
To offset that, however, it also contains more allegations concerning the same activities that were included in the original indictment – which amounts to nothing more than additional crime stacking.
More To Follow On U.S. v. Parlato Et Al
Many more facts will emerge as we dive deeper into the pending charges against Frank.
But one thing that will never change is Frank’s insistence that he has not committed any crimes.
It has already been proven that the original basis for launching an investigation into Frank’s businesses – that he had defrauded the Bronfman sisters – was based on Clare Bronfman’s perjured testimony before a federal grand jury.
Had Clare not made her fallacious allegation, it is quite possible that Frank’s business dealings would never have been investigated.
And so it is that Frank is still facing eighteen felony charges – and, as currently scheduled, will go to trial on May 19, 2020.
As Frank said, “Now we shall go to trial and I will have my chance at last to establish my innocence. The prosecution, in prepping for this case, will soon have to examine the ‘evidence’ of this case that AUSA Anthony Bruce left them with. Then they will understand they have no case, that this was all manufactured to please the Bronfmans and possibly others. It might have worked.
“Normally people who are indicted take a plea deal. But I will never take a plea deal admitting to something I never did – even if the penalty is ZERO. The reason for that is that I cannot in good conscience enable this corrupt system of overcharging or falsely charging people knowing they won’t risk trial and will take a plea deal, even to something they did not do.
“As Americans, we have a tradition of standing up to oppression. That even includes the government even if it has the Orwellian name of ‘the Department of Justice.’”