BY: J.J. O’Hara
[This is Part 9 of a series of articles that I am writing about the pending prosecution of Frank Parlato (Frank’s trial is scheduled to start on May 19th). Thus far, I’ve explained how this case got started and what the pending charges are against Frank. In addition, I’ve also detailed some of the things going on behind-the-scenes that have allowed this case to continue even in the face of documentation showing that Frank has not committed any crimes.]
In Part 8 of this series, I explained why William J. Hochul, the then-U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, refused to intervene in this matter even though he had been provided documentation that clearly demonstrated Frank had not committed any crimes. In this part, I will summarize what we’ve learned to date about this case – and outline some of the related topics that I’ll be writing about in the future. As usual, readers are encouraged to ask questions – which I will endeavor to answer on a timely basis.
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about different aspects of the pending criminal charges against Frank Parlato – and trying to demonstrate to Frank Report readers just how unfairly Frank’s been treated by federal law enforcement officials over the past eight years.
Before moving on to more of the arbitrary and inequitable elements of the case, I thought it might be helpful to review and summarize what’s been documented so far in the earlier posts.
How It All Began
As is usually the case, Frank’s current legal battle started with an investigation by the FBI. This particular investigation was focused on some of his business activities.
Of course, such investigations don’t just get started out of the blue and for no reason at all.
Sometimes, they are initiated after someone has gone to the FBI or the local U.S. Attorney’s Office – and complained about what they think are illegal activities.
Other times, they get started when FBI officials or prosecutors read or hear about what sounds to them like criminal activity (That’s basically how the downfall of Keith Raniere and the NXIVM criminal enterprise got started).
In Frank’s case, it appears that there were two parties who alleged that he was involved in illegal activities.
The first was the Bronfman sisters – Clare and Sara – who, interestingly enough, were the primary financiers of the NXIVM cult and its numerous crimes.
The second was Shmuel Shmueli, a transplanted conman from Brooklyn who thought he could bully Frank into cutting him in on one of Frank’s business ventures.
Oddly enough, both the Bronfman sisters and Shmueli were represented by the same attorney, William F. Savino.
How that came about is not yet known.
What is known, however, is that Wee Willie Savino was good friends with U.S. Assistant Attorney Anthony M. Bruce.
What is also known is that Bruce had a well-deserved reputation as a prosecutor who was willing to use shady tactics – up to and including the manufacturing of fake evidence and outright lying – to convince grand juries to issue indictments against parties that he wanted to prosecute.
And, finally, it is also known that Raniere liked to incentivize attorneys who had been hired to pursue claims against his enemies by offering them large sums of money if they could get those enemies indicted on criminal charges (The Bronfman sisters were quite willing to pay whatever bonuses these attorneys might earn by getting such indictments issued).
So, there we have the perfect primordial soup to generate a baseless indictment against an innocent man.
Complainants who are willing to file false complaints and to lie under oath before a grand jury (The charges against Frank that resulted from the Bronfmans’ complaints had to be dropped when it was documented that Clare had perjured herself before the grand jury that issued the indictment – a crime for which she has never been charged).
An attorney who was quite willing – and possibly quite incentivized – to try and convince the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York (WDNY) to file criminal charges against Frank.
And an Assistant U.S. Attorney who was quite willing – and also possibly quite incentivized – to do his attorney friend a favor by getting the local FBI office to initiate an investigation of Frank Parlato.
Crime Stacking & Overcharging Create an Uneven Playing Field
Frank was originally charged on November 20, 2015 with nineteen (19) different felonies. That number was later reduced to eighteen (18) felonies when the Feds had to issue a superseding indictment on May 23, 2018 that omitted all references to the Bronfman sisters.
As of right now, Frank is facing the following charges:
• One (1) count of “Conspiracy to Impede, Obstruct and Impair the IRS and to Commit Wire Fraud”;
• Seven (10) counts of “Wire Fraud”; and
• Ten (10) counts of “Engaging in Monetary Transactions in Property Derived From Specified Unlawful Activity”.
While the sheer number of charges might suggest that Frank is a major crime boss, the reality is that many of the charges are duplicative and repetitive.
Thus, had Anthony Bruce not resorted to “crime stacking” – and simply charged Frank with one crime per alleged criminal activity – Frank would only be facing two or three charges.
And even then, those two or three charges would be based on activities that are perfectly legal: i.e., owning more than one company – and having multiple bank accounts.
But Bruce did what he apparently was asked to do – and, in reality, what he liked to do anyway – which is to load up indictments with as many charges as possible.
It’s a common tactic that is widely used by prosecutors to encourage defendants to take a plea deal – and to enhance their negotiating position regarding such deals (97% of all people who are charged with federal crimes accept a plea deal rather than risk going to trial).
And it virtually guarantees that any defendant who goes to trial will be convicted of something.
Frank Upset His Planned Demise by Refusing to Take a Plea Deal
Bruce had everything lined up just the way he likes.
A defendant facing multiple charges – meaning he will immediately start incurring huge legal fees and will also be facing decades in jail if he goes to trial and is convicted.
A defendant whom he thought would gladly accept a plea deal – and, therefore, never force him to prove to a trial jury that the defendant had done anything illegal.
What Bruce never counted on, however, is that Frank Parlato was not the kind of guy who backs down from a challenge – even (and maybe especially) if the deck is stacked against him.
Imagine how surprised Bruce was when Frank rejected every plea deal that was offered (And wait until you hear the details of some of those plea deals).
But Bruce had an insurance policy in this case.
He retired soon after the indictment against Frank was issued – which meant that he didn’t have to clean up the mess he started.
Did the U.S. Attorney Refuse to Intervene as a Favor to Governor Cuomo?
With Bruce departed from the scene, Frank’s case eventually ended up on the desk of William J. Hochul, the U.S. Attorney for the WDNY. Hochul could have – and, in other instances, likely would have – dismissed all the charges against Frank.
But Hochul’s wife, Kathy, just happens to be the Lt. Governor of the State of New York.
And Kathy’s boss just happens to be the New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo.
And Governor Cuomo just happens to have been the poster boy for a scathing series that Frank authored in the Niagara Falls Reporter newspaper about some of the sleazy deals that Cuomo had participated in since he took office.
So, Bill Hochul turned a deaf ear to the requests for justice from Frank and his attorneys.
And then – just like Bruce – Hochul announced his retirement and departed the scene (He actually took an extremely high-paying job with one of Governor Cuomo’s largest contributors).
More to Follow
So, that’s where we are, Frank Report readers.
We’ve got an innocent man who has been indicted for doing things that are not illegal.
He’s already incurred huge legal fees – with more to follow.
He’s refused to take any plea deal – which means that he has to go a perfect 18-0 at his trial in order to avoid spending a significant amount of time in federal prison (Those who choose to go to trial and lose are often subjected to what is referred to as the “trial penalty” – the extra time you serve in prison for exercising your right to a trial by a jury of your peers).
There’s a lot more to be revealed about the case of the U.S. v. Parlato.
And the more you learn, the more you’ll understand that Frank Parlato is being persecuted rather than prosecuted.
This is a case that began with the decision already having been made that Frank was going to be indicted.
How it will end is still an open question.
So, stay tuned…