Clare Bronfman, heiress to her family's Seagrams empire was given a sentence of six years and nine months behind bars for her role in the Nxivm sex-slave cult, last Wednesday.
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis announced her 81 month sentence in a Brooklyn Federal Courther an hour long summary, stating that she used her financial assets to help silence both victims and critics of Nxivm.
She “used her incredible wealth and attempted to use her social status and connections not only to support Nxivm’s work, but also as a means of intimidating, threatening, and exacting revenge upon individuals who dared to challenge its dogma,” he said.
Clare Bronfman had been under house arrest at her city luxury apartment was immediately taken into custody by US Marshals.
Bronfman pleaded guilty last year to charges of conspiracy to conceal and harbor an illegal alien for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification, admitting she committed credit card fraud on behalf of cult leader and convicted sex-trafficker Keith Raniere.
Nxivm leader Keith Raniere found guilty on all counts in his sex cult trial.
Prosecutors have said that Raniere ran a master-slave group within Nxivm called DOS, where women were branded with his initials and forced to sleep with him could not have committed his crimes without the aid of Bronfman and her $210 million fortune.
Nine women who were victimized by Nxivm also tore into Bronfman, calling her a “dangerous megalomaniac” and “predator”, prior to her sentencing.
According to the judge, federal sentencing guidelines had called for Bronfman to receive up to 27 months behind bars, while prosecutors had sought five years.
Bronfman’s own lawyers had sought three years of probation, denying she knew anything about DOS.
Judge Garaufis wasn’t swayed and also ordered a $500,000 fine to go along with the prison sentence.
“Ms. Bronfman came to learn details about DOS and faced a choice as to whose interests she would protect: Raniere’s or his victims’,” the judge said. “She chose Raniere unequivocally, and to this day she has not clearly apologized.”
Her lawyer said he would immediately appeal.
“The decision was clearly an abomination. It was outrageous. It was a miscarriage of justice, to go three times above the sentencing guidelines was totally uncalled for,” said attorney Ron Sullivan.
Bronfman is the first top Nxivm member to be sentenced in the case. Five others, including Raniere and former “Smallville” TV actress Allison Mack, who pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges, are still waiting for their sentencing trial.
As a high-level member of Nxivm, Bronfman brought young women into the country illegally, prosecutors stated.
Bronfman, once a top equestrian with her sights set on the Olympics, recruited one wannabe professional horse-rider into Nxivm — but the woman was eventually groomed for Raniere’s perverted sexual pleasure, according to court testimony.
The woman told the court during Raniere’s trial that she became a “slave” in DOS — then was ordered to “seduce” Raniere.
Prior to being sentenced, Bronfman gave a statement to the court, in which she admitted to making “mistakes.” She stated “I’m immensely grateful and privileged that people all over the world are praying for me because they know my goodness.”
“It doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes, I have made mistakes…” Clearly an understatement for someone involved in a case of this notoriety.
Keith Raniere, 60, who was found guilty of charges including racketeering and sex-trafficking last year, faces up to life in prison when sentenced next month. Other sentencing cases will follow.
Her sister Sara, who was not criminally charged in the case, despite her involvment with the group, agreed to give up her ownership interest in NXIVM’s Albany properties in exchange for a 20 percent share of their sale after federal forfeiture.
A sad end for a member of one of Canada's weathiest families.
Read more here