Feds Refused to Accept Proof of Frank Parlato’s Innocence – Pushed Ahead With Indictment

Frank Parlato [From Vice/HBO]

By: J.J. O’Hara

This is Part 11 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.

As I mentioned in my last post about this case, one of the more troubling aspects about it is that the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York (WDNY) had been provided clear and convincing evidence that Frank had not committed well before they chose to indict him.

In fact, some of that evidence had been presented to Federal prosecutors more than eight months before Frank was indicted.

The circumstances behind this scenario are a little unusual.

So, let’s go back to the beginning – and try to sort things out.


How the Investigation Began

Based in part on records that have been turned over to Frank in conjunction with the pre-trial discovery process – and in part on information that was provided to him by a variety of sources – it appears that the investigation of his business dealings began sometime in 2011.

But investigations like this don’t get started for no reason.

Usually, they get started because someone informs federal investigators and/or federal prosecutors about what they believe to be criminal activity – or those same federal officials learn about what they believe might be criminal activity from some media source.

In the case of Keith Raniere and the NXIVM crime syndicate, federal law enforcement officials in the Northern District of New York (NDNY) steadfastly refused to initiate any sort of investigation despite having been provided, by several individuals, with numerous details and documents regarding a whole raft of crimes concerning their operations – and despite the Times Union newspaper having published numerous award-winning articles about those same operations.

Indeed, it was not until prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) read about Raniere having established a secret society that blackmailed and branded women before any sort of federal investigation was ever undertaken into the NXIVM crime syndicate.

So, what was it that led WDNY investigators to begin investigating Frank Parlato’s business dealings?

Who went to federal officials and whispered in their ears about the supposedly criminal activities that Frank was engaged in?

We know for certain that one of those people was Clare Bronfman – who appeared before the local grand jury and perjured herself regarding her business dealings with Frank (Oddly enough, the intrepid prosecutors in the WDNY have treated Clare with the same “hands-off” policy that their counterparts in the NDNY afforded her – which is why she’s never been charged with perjury in either location even though she committed that same crime in both places).

Clare Bronfman

We also believe that another likely candidate is a conman named Shmuel Shmueli who had managed to go 0-10 in the lawsuits that he had filed against Frank and one of Frank’s business partners, Larry Reger – and who was hell-bent on taking down Frank.

Shmuel Shmueli

Interestingly enough, both Bronfman and Shmueli were represented by the same attorney – that being William F. Savino, whose ethics and height are equally challenged.

That would be the same William F. Savino who just happened to be good friends with WDNY Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce.

And that would be the same Anthony M. Bruce who just happened to be the local U.S. Assistant Attorney who was assigned to handle the investigation of Frank Parlato.

Gee, what are the odds of all those things randomly coming together at the same time?

Kind of like your odds for winning Saturday’s Powerball drawing.

Marie White’s portrayal of AUSA Anthony Bruce, William Savino, and Clare Bronfman


Frank’s Response to the Investigation

Once he became aware that he was being investigated – which happened when the FBI contacted him on January 4, 2012, to tell him that the Bronfman sisters had filed a criminal complaint against him  – Frank tried to be as cooperative as possible.

When he was asked for business records, he voluntarily provided them rather than forcing the feds to subpoena them.

And when the federal investigators indicated they would like to hear his side of what happened, Frank instructed his lawyers to readily and transparently share anything they had with them in an attempt to demonstrate that no crimes had been committed.

It was an unprecedented level of transparency.

Kind of the opposite of Keith Raniere who fled to Mexico with one of his baby mamas and their child – and who ordered the members of the gang he left behind not to cooperate at all with the EDNY investigators.

Baby mama Mariana Fernandez and fugitive Keith Raniere hiding out in Mexico

Once Frank was able to figure out what the federal investigators thought he had done wrong, he was confident that he could convince them they were mistaken.

So he had his attorneys – one of who had previously served as the U.S. Attorney for the WDNY and who had also been elected as New York State’s Attorney General – put together a detailed explanation of why he had established 15 companies and opened 50 bank accounts over the course of 12 years.

In essence, Frank was laying out his defense long before he was indicted.

It’s an unusual strategy – and not one that guilty parties tend to employ.


The Feds Response to Frank’s Transparency

In March 2015, Frank’s attorneys presented federal law enforcement officials with a 21-page analysis of the relevant facts concerning Franks’ business dealings.

But that didn’t convince Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce to back off. He was already committed to getting Frank Parlato indicted – and he wasn’t going to relent simply because there was evidence indicating that Frank had not committed any crimes.

For the next several months, Frank continued to provide documents and records to federal investigators.

And his attorneys continued to gather evidence to prove that their client had done nothing illegal.

In October 2015, Frank’s attorneys provided federal law enforcement officials with a 126-slide PowerPoint deck that refuted every one of the charges that federal prosecutors had indicated they were likely going to bring against Frank.

That same PowerPoint presentation also explained why federal law enforcement officials should release the $1 million escrow account that they had already frozen.

But Bruce and his colleagues didn’t care about the evidence that indicated Frank was innocent.

An ad regarding Anthony M. Bruce

Evidence…Schmevidence…They were committed to prosecuting Frank – and there was no turning back.

If anything, Frank’s attempt to avert prosecution actually caused Bruce to realize that Frank was not going to roll over like most defendants he had dealt with over the years.

Frank would not accept any of the plea deals that had been offered to him – and said he would rather go trial than plead guilty to a crime he had not committed.

Bruce needed to stack the deck as much as he could in order to push Frank to the wall – and to ensure, as much as he could, that Frank would be convicted if the case actually went to trial.

And, thus, the original indictment of Frank Parlato contained 19 felony charges.

19 over-lapping, redundant and baseless charges.

But Bruce didn’t care if he could prove that Frank committed all those charges in a court of law.

That’s because Bruce knew that 97% of federal cases end up being resolved via a plea deal rather than going to trial.

And Bruce had another reason not to care about what would happen if Frank refused to give in – and actually went to trial.

It wasn’t going to be Bruce’s problem.

Having fulfilled his commitment to get Frank indicted, Bruce was going to retire as an Assistant U.S. Attorney – and go make some big bucks in the private sector.


In the next post about this case, I’ll detail some of the evidence that Frank’s attorneys presented to federal prosecutors before Frank was indicted.

And I’ll ask Frank Report readers to decide just how fair our criminal justice system is…


Previous posts in this series can be accessed at:
Part 1: The Buffalo News Raises Questions About Frank Parlato’s Case – More Detailed Analysis Needed

Part 2: The Convoluted History of U.S. v. Parlato Began With Bronfman Sisters

Part 3: The Federal Case Against Frank Parlato – a Prosecution in Search of a Crime

Part 4: What Are the Charges in U.S. v. Parlato — and What Do They Mean?

Part 5: The Conman Cometh – Schmuel Schmueli – Who, Combined With the Bronfmans, Led to Parlato’s Indictment

Part 6: Fate Brings Conman Shmuel Shmueli Into Frank Parlato’s Life

Part 7: Why Frank Parlato Established Several Companies and Multiple Bank Accounts

Part 8: Why Did Anthony Bruce’s Boss Not Intervene in the Case of the U.S. v. Parlato? – Governor Cuomo’s Lt Governor Was Married to the US Attorney at the Time!

Part 9: The Persecution of Frank Parlato: What Have We Learned so Far?

Part 10: Where’s the Beef? Feds Will Try to Convict Parlato on Insinuations Rather Than Facts


About the author

J.J. O'Hara

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3 years ago

It’s amazing and troubling the amount of discretion the Federal government has in who they prosecute and do not.

Originally the founding Fathers had set up the Grand Jury system to stop bogus charges (allegations) from being filed. The grand jury system has been eroded into a perfunctory rubber stamp.

The grand jury should have checked the DOJ.

3 years ago
Reply to  NiceGuy

Nice Guy:
There is a saying that a Grand Jury will indict a ham sandwich.
That saying is true.

3 years ago


Yeah, ain’t that the truth.

After the first time I had sat on a jury…I prayed to God that nothing in my life would ever be decided by a jury.

A trial is a f*cking crap shoot and the wager is your life.

3 years ago

From MK10Art

“In the case of #KeithRaniere and the #NXIVM crime syndicate, federal law enforcement officials in the Northern District of New York (#NDNY) steadfastly refused to initiate any sort of investigation despite having been provided, by several individuals, with numerous details and documents regarding a whole raft of crimes concerning their operations – and despite the Times Union newspaper having published numerous award-winning articles about those same operations.” Read more https://frankreport.com/2020/01/11/feds-refused-to-accept-proof-of-frank-parlatos-innocence-pushed-ahead-with-indictmen/

3 years ago

“We Don’t Need No Proof!”
“We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Proof!”

Anthony M. Bruce
William Savino
Clare Bronfman
Shmuel Shmueli

Joe Fabeetz
Joe Fabeetz
3 years ago

Almost all of this, if not all centers around Clare, who was caught committing perjury ! And was not charged. ! I sure hope the Judge will let the defense make the jury well aware of this as it will cast more than reasonable doubt.

3 years ago

Seems understandable, I’m sure a jury can understand it.

When do we get to hear the other side? Do we have to wait for trial?

3 years ago

Having fully observed this happen often, unfortunately, no surprise here. Those with vested interests are instructed to go after the whistleblowers. Frequently this is done by attributing to the one who “needs to be discredited” the very same machiavellian tactics actually being used, lifelong, by those with the vested interests.

This entire matter, the legalized harassment of Frank Parlato, ought to have been dropped. The question is then, how come it’s still being pursued at all? Some people have some things to hide, that is all, and are using aggressiveness as a tactic. The self-importance is nauseating and has nothing whatsoever to do with justice or with being a public “servant.” These power players are hungry freaks who only pretend to give a damn about justice or service.

3 years ago

This story reads like Franz Kafka’s “The Trial” where a man is charged and convicted of an unknown crime.

Maybe in Buffalo and Albany, it is still a crime to offend the Bronfman crime gang.

Heidi Hutchinson
Heidi Hutchinson
3 years ago

Is there any way to prove that any bribery or, considering it’s NXIVM, other form of persuasion of any public officials may have taken place in Frank’s and other indictments brought by Clare & Sara Bronfman against NXIVM whistleblowers?

I still can’t get over the fact that Clare has not been charged with the bundling of contributions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign when there were so many witnesses, when this crime is a clear violation of the law and affront to the U.S. election process.

No wonder Raniere was confident that soon he would be able to seat a NXIAN in office — and, of course, use that proven power as another lure for politically ambitious females to join in the sex-slave merriment.

Gawd, can you imagine if someone like Kirsten Gillibrand became President of the U.S. and it turned out she had a KAR brand on her puss?

That’s why this needs to be nipped in the bud at the campaign contribution bundling stage, and if the likes of Gilibrand had any balls or hope for a future Presidential run she would demand that Clare ET AL be charged with that crime NOW!

I’m sure if it were a bundled Trump campaign donation, she and Pelosi, Harris all the ball-less hypocrites would be crying foul.

3 years ago

I’m fine with Joe questioning Savino’s ethics, but I have a problem with the cracks about Savino fitting through the doggie door.

If anyone does talk to Savino, please ask him for his tailor’s contact info. My tailor retired and I like his guy’s work.

Scott Johnson
3 years ago

The 126-slide PowerPoint presentation would be interesting to see.

Mexican Lady
Mexican Lady
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Johnson

good point. I think the defense does need to make the story they present clearer and shorter. A short simple story is the best. Like casey Anthony got off because her defense was super simple: my daughter dies in the pool and she was sexually abused by my dad. I panicked and did not know how to process this.
The jury bought it. Why, because it is a simple story to follow.
A video of Casey Anthony’s jury:

Scott Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mexican Lady

Not sure whether a 126-slide presentation is “clearer and shorter.” Anthony isn’t a very good example to make that point, Frank’s story about Bruce going after innocent people makes the point much better. Anthony was an OJ Simpson, Part II trial.

Mexican Lady
Mexican Lady
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Johnson

Great point. You are right highlighting Bruce going after innocent people makes it much clearer. The jury should not allow that to keep happening.

Go Frank!

Scott Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mexican Lady

Unfortunately, I doubt Frank will be able to introduce that information in the trial.

3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Johnson


Almost as interesting as seeing your fat ass in a gym. LOL

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
Email: frankreport76@gmail.com


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