Seagram heiress Claire Bronfman arrested in NXIVM sex-trafficking case
26 Julio, 2018, 02:09 | Author: Gregg Anderson
The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of NY announced on Tuesday that Bronfman - along with NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, former "Smallville" actress Allison Mack, Kathy Russell, Lauren Salzman and Nancy Salzman - have been indicted on charges of "racketeering conspiracy involving an array of crimes, including identity theft, extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, money laundering, wire fraud and obstruction of justice".
Clare Bronfman and three other people associated with the NXIVM organization were taken into custody and charged with racketeering conspiracy, the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn announced.
Despite criticism for years by ex-followers who called NXIVM a cult and a pyramid scheme, the organization's intense self-improvement classes had, at one point, earned it thousands of adherents, including some with Hollywood ties.
Bronfman and her sister Sara reportedly poured millions of dollars into the group and moved their moved their headquarters from Mexico to Brooklyn to be nearer to Raniere and Mack.
The sums included $66 million allegedly used to cover Mr Raniere's failed bets in the commodities market, $30 million to buy property in Los Angeles and around Albany, $11 million for a 22-seat private plane, and millions more to support a barrage of lawsuits across the country against Nxivm's enemies.
The superseding indictment added racketeering conspiracy to the charges against Mack, who's been characterized as one of Raniere's top aides in Nxivm (pronounced "Nex-e-um"), which prosecutors allege was a sex cult that exploited its members rather than a self-help group it was purported to be. Mack was released on bail. Raniere created a "secret society" within the organisation in 2015, known as DOS, with women serving as "slaves" overseen by "masters", according to prosecutors. According to the indictment they were accused of engaging in identity theft, money laundering, extortion and other illegal activities to help bring recruits and money into Nxivm.
On Tuesday afternoon, Bronfman was set to be arraigned in a Brooklyn federal court while NXIVM employee Russell, NXIVM president Nancy Salzman and daughter Lauren Salzman were to appear in federal court in Albany. "We are confident that Clare will be exonerated", she said.
Nxivm leader Keith Raniere and his alleged partner-in-crime, actress Allison Mack, were reunited with Seagram's liquor heiress Clare Bronfman in court Wednesday - when they were all hauled in together on racketeering charges.
Prosecutors say Raniere and Mack would recruit women to a secret sub-society within NXIVM and then brand them by way of a surgical tool with a symbol that resembled his initials. Bronfman has said in previous public statements that she had no knowledge of wrongdoing.
It's not a surprise that Bronfman, who's been affiliated with Nxivm for years, was arrested.
In their court papers, their defense lawyers said the supposed victims of the group were never abused and were in fact "independent, smart, curious adults" searching for 'happiness, fulfillment and meaning'.
Raniere's influence over Clare led her to sell most of her horses, put her US$7 million New Hope, Pennsylvania, estate on the market, and throw herself into managing Raniere-inspired projects, according to the article. It also said Bronfman has "paid for numerous lawyers to bring suits against Nxivm critics".
In a website post past year, Bronfman called the secret society a "sorority" that 'has truly benefited the lives of its members, and does so freely'. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access!
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