The prolific local publisher Frank Parlato, accused by the United States Attorney’s office of fraud and violating tax rules, is seeking “victims” of former Assistant US Attorney Anthony M. ‘Tony’ Bruce in full page public service announcements running in The Niagara Falls Reporter, Artvoice, The South Buffalo News, and Lackawanna Front Page this week.
Parlato was indicted by a grand jury led by former AUSA Bruce in November 2015.
Parlato, in turn, has accused Bruce of fabricating evidence to “squeak up to probable cause” in a case he said is “utterly untenable.”
But Parlato said he wonders if his case with Bruce is unique.
His announcement reads in part: “Upon information and belief, court records, document review, and eyewitness testimony, Anthony Bruce suborned perjury, obstructed justice, deceived the courts, recklessly and blatantly disregarded evidence that pointed to innocence, lied by omission and committed outright fraud and perjury as a regular pattern of conduct during his notorious 38 year role as an assistant US attorney and sent an unknown number of innocent people to prison.”
Parlato’s public service announcement goes on say: “BE NOT AFRAID: If you were a victim of Bruce join the ranks of victims who are fighting back and contact us. Your inquiry will be kept confidential…. Contact Parlato at 716-990-5740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Parlato also intends to help other wrongly accused individuals to tell their stories of prosecutorial misconduct, which he suspects is systemic. The well known Niagara Falls real estate developer has recently founded The Association for the Wrongly Accused (AWA) to help defend innocent victims of politically motivated prosecutions.
Parlato first brought Bruce’s alleged misconduct to light in a series of articles about his own case which prompted a number or purported victims and attorneys to contact Parlato, he says, to inform him about Bruce’s alleged misconduct in their cases.
Parlato said he has a body of evidence that the conduct Bruce showed in his case was not singular.
Among claims made by alleged victims or their lawyers is that Bruce ‘doctored’ documents then presented them before the courts.
He allegedly used informants to lie to the grand jury and the courts.
He allegedly employed burglars to steal evidence.
He allegedly misled grand jurors about documents to fabricate scenarios of crimes that never happened.
He allegedly had secret deals to concoct evidence.
At all times he did so with confidence that he could cover up these falsehoods or that no one would challenge a prosecutor’s integrity.
In reaction to Parlato’s public calling out of Bruce’s alleged misconduct, Bruce reportedly threatened to sue Parlato for libel and defamation.
Parlato said he welcomes the lawsuit since it will give him a chance to depose Bruce.
Meantime Parlato is defending his own criminal case, alleging that, under Bruce’s direction, an FBI agent, who investigated Parlato in a relentless but ultimately fruitless four-year investigation, declared some 38 provable ‘inaccuracies’ in an affidavit which could rise in the aggregate to perjury. The affidavit was filed in a secret motion (ex parte) with the court and was made to persuade a magistrate to order the seizure of Parlato’s ‘lawfully earned’ money prior to a conviction or finding of any wrongdoing whatsoever by Parlato.
Assistant US Attorney Bruce is alleged to have used those same 38 falsehoods — even after being presented with exonerating evidence– to try to coerce Parlato into taking a plea deal.
When Parlato refused, Bruce indicted Parlato with a raft of charges that include defrauding a dead partner who never said he was defrauded, a contract based fraud with two sisters who swore they never signed the contract, (Bruce evidently lied to the grand jury telling them there was a contract when none existed) and an accusation that Parlato planned to cheat the IRS but changed his mind and paid the taxes – in other words – attempted tax evasion.
After Bruce led a grand jury to indict Parlato, he retired from the US Attorney’s office, leaving the case to subordinates at the office.
That many local lawyers knew about Bruce’s ‘cheating’ or to be more polite ‘bending the rules’ (where people’s freedom is at stake) is an open secret in the local legal community.
One local attorney said, “I like Tony Bruce and I liked his aggressive style except of course when he ‘cheated.'”
Another lawyer said, “I witnessed Tony Bruce deceive the courts and obstruct justice. When he got caught red handed, his office covered for him, but I think it was a real eye opener for the judge involved.”
Another prominent criminal defense lawyer said, “When Anthony Bruce had a case, I told my clients, ‘there is no point in trying to explain your innocence to the office. You’re going to be indicted.”
A Niagara Falls Ontario attorney who had run-ins with Bruce said publicly that Bruce was a dishonest prosecutor.
Another local attorney, and avid Trump supporter, went further, saying, “Bruce is a criminal.”
Another local criminal lawyer spoke of how Bruce became “giddy” at the prospect of the indictment of his “innocent” client.
Another said she was “shocked at his unethical behavior.”
There is probably no other prosecutor in western New York history who prompted so many prominent lawyers to have concerns about his ethics.
In the following weeks, we plan to publish a series of stories of cases where the evidence points to Bruce’s potential cheating.
It is quite possible that nobody indicted as many innocent people as Tony Bruce did in his 38 year career as a prosecutor in the history of the US Attorney’s office.
How many innocents took plea bargains to avoid the risk of trial and long periods of incarceration after Bruce overcharged them is something worth investigating. Right now victims are coming out of the shadows and more are expected through the publication of this public service announcement which you can read in this edition.