BY: J.J. O’Hara
[This is Part 10 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). As usual, readers are encouraged to ask questions – which I will endeavor to answer on a timely basis.
Regardless of the specific crimes that are alleged to have been committed, most criminal cases are pretty straightforward.
The prosecutors allege that the defendant did something illegal – and they introduce witnesses and other evidence to prove that this allegation is true “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
Depending on the specific crime that the defendant is alleged to have committed, the prosecution will also have to prove “general intent” (i.e., the defendant meant to commit the alleged act) or “specific intent” (i.e., the defendant intended to cause the actual outcome of the act). Examples: Assault and Battery are “general intent” crimes – and embezzlement and robbery are “specific intent” crimes.
The defense attorneys counter in one or more ways.
They may challenge the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses and/or the admissibility of its other evidence.
Or they may claim it was not the defendant who committed the illegal activity: i.e., it’s a case of mistaken identity. In cases like this, they may offer an alibi for the defendant with respect to the time and location at which the alleged illegal activity took place – or they may even identify someone else as the likely perpetrator.
Or they may simply claim that the defendant did not commit the specific criminal acts (s)he is accused of committing – and challenge whether the prosecution has proved its assertions “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
And, if the defendant is charged with a “specific intent” crime, the defense attorneys may also argue that the defendant did not intend to cause the actual outcome that occurred.
In the case of the U.S. v. Parlato, Frank has been charged with “specific intent” crimes.
And, since it does not appear that there are many facts that will be in dispute, Frank’s case will likely turn on the question of what his intent was in terms of operating several companies — and opening up multiple bank accounts.
This Appears to Be a “WHY” Case Rather Than a “WHAT” Case
Although I have not – and will not – discuss this matter with Frank’s legal representatives, it appears to me that the real legal battle in his case will not be about WHAT he is alleged to have done but rather WHY he did what he did.
As noted in previous posts, the pending charges against Frank are as follows:
• One (1) count of Conspiracy to Impede, Obstruct and Impair the IRS and to Commit Wire Fraud;
• Seven (7) counts of Wire Fraud; and
• Ten (10) counts of Engaging in Monetary Transactions in Property Derived From Specified Unlawful Activity.
And, as also noted in previous posts, if the Feds didn’t resort to “crime stacking”, Frank would likely be facing only two charges: i.e., one count of Impeding, Obstructing and Impairing the IRS – and one count of Wire Fraud.
Instead, of course, Frank is facing eighteen felony counts.
What’s unusual about Frank’s case is that it does not appear there will be many factual disputes.
The Feds will assert that Frank created fifteen (15) different business entities over a period of several years – and Frank will likely not contest that assertion. That’s because he did not do anything to hide his ownership interest in those companies.
The Feds will also assert that Frank opened approximately fifty (50) different bank accounts over a 12-year period, many of which were just companion savings accounts to checking accounts – and Frank will likely not contest that assertion. That’s because every bank account that he opened was registered under his name and his social security number.
Finally, the Feds will assert that Frank made several cash transfers between/among his various bank accounts – and Frank will likely not contest that assertion. That’s because all of those transfers were done through normal banking mechanisms and were, therefore, well-documented.
So, left with little, if any, disagreements over WHAT Frank did in terms of his business dealings, the Feds will try to convince the jury that the reason WHY he did those things was to conceal financial transactions from the IRS and from the late Larry Reger, one of his business partners.
In making its argument that Frank’s actions were done for illegal purposes, the Feds will insinuate that owning multiple businesses – and having multiple bank accounts – is an indication of criminal behavior.
And to increase its likelihood of success, the Feds will try to stack the jury with the least sophisticated people in the jury pool.
The Feds won’t want any business owners on the panel – and they probably won’t want anyone who’s ever been the defendant in a civil lawsuit either.
They will also try to exclude anyone who has very much in the way of assets – and whose annual income is above $40,000.
From the Feds perspective, the ideal juror will be someone who dropped out of high school or never went to college – and who, if they ever had a job, has worked for the minimum wage for their entire adult life (I know what you’re thinking Frank Report readers but don’t be alarmed. Even though she does live in the Western District of New York, it is highly unlikely that Toni Natalie will be called as a juror in Frank’s case).
Those are the kind of people who never considered owning one company, let alone fifteen of them.
And they’re also the kind of people who are much more likely to have just one checking account and one savings account because they’ve never had to worry about the fact that the FDIC only insures bank accounts for up to $250,000 per account.
So, What Exactly Is Going to Be the “Beef” in the Feds’ Case Against Frank?
Answer: INSINUATIONS, INUENDOS, AND IMPUTATIONS.
That’s really all the Feds will be able to do because:
(a) Frank paid all of the taxes that were due on every dollar that he earned from his businesses. That’s why he wasn’t charged with tax evasion.
(b) Frank did not cheat Larry Reger – or anyone else – out of any funds that they were due. That’s why he wasn’t charged with any fraud-related crimes.
(c) Frank did not touch one cent of the $1 million that he received from Clare and Sara Bronfman (The Feds actually froze the account holding those funds at the outset of their prosecution of Frank in order to ensure that he could not utilize any of those funds to pay for defense attorneys – which is another favorite ploy of prosecutors).
(d) Frank registered every bank account in question in his own name and in his own social security number.
(e) Frank set up multiple companies and multiple bank accounts upon the advice of his attorney in order to ensure that Shmuel Shmueli was not able to tie up funds that were in dispute (Shmueli lost all ten of the lawsuits that he initiated against Frank and Larry Reger).
(f) The Feds are sure as hell not going to call Shmueli or the Bronfman sisters as witnesses even though it was their complaints that led the Feds to start investigating Frank.
(g) And the Feds are also not going to call any of Larry Reger’s heirs as witnesses because they’re still receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from the investment that is at the core of this case.
So, all the Feds are going to be able to do is try and convince 12 people that a guy who owns fifteen companies and who has had fifty bank accounts [over the course of 12 years] – and, of course, a guy who has been charged with eighteen felonies – must be guilty of something.
But you know what really stinks to high heavens about this case?
As you’ll find out in the next post, the Feds had all this information BEFORE they indicted Frank.
Just how fucking outrageous is that?
Previous posts in this series can be accessed at: