BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Niagara Falls newspaper owner accused of wire fraud and money laundering went before a judge today. Frank Parlato Junior is charged in a 19-count indictment.
Parlato’s case is being called unusual because he’s writing about his own lawsuit in two local papers. He owns ArtVoice and The Niagara Falls Reporter.
This prompted the prosecution to ask for a gag order in court today. The judge in this case said, “no.”
The prosecution says his articles in Artvoice and The Nigara Falls Reporter could influence a future jury. The case stems from the accusation Parlatto cheated the IRS and the Bronfman family as part of a scheme involving 15 shell companies, 50 bank accounts and attorney trust accounts. In court Parlatto pleaded not guilty and maintains he is innocent.
“Today I made the first statement in my defense. Not guilty,” Parlatto said after his arraignment.
“The government asked for a gag order in this case. It was denied by Judge McCarthy. We feel that’s a very good decision. Frank has been open and transparent about this entire matter and we plan to keep it that way. Both sides should have the right to express their views and opinions and that’s what’s going to happen,” said Parlato’s friend, Tony Farina.
Parlato turned down a plea-deal saying he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong. Parlato faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted. Next, the court will begin a sixth month discovery investigation.