Clare Bronfman, a high-ranking member of Nxivm’s Executive Board, was sentenced by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis today in federal court in Brooklyn to 81 months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to conceal and harbor aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of personal identification information. Bronfman pleaded guilty in April 2019 and pursuant to her plea agreement forfeited $6 million. The Court also imposed a fine of $500,000 and restitution to be paid to victim “Jane Doe 12” in the amount of $96,605.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), announced the sentence.
“Defendant Bronfman twisted our immigration system to serve a reprehensible agenda, and engaged in flagrant fraud to the detriment of her victims and in the service of a corrupt endeavor,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “With today’s sentence, she has been held accountable for her crimes.”
Mr. DuCharme extended his appreciation to the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, the New York State Police and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York for their assistance during the investigation and prosecution.
“Today, Clare Bronfman is the first of many to be sentenced for the crimes she committed in furtherance of Nxivm’s objectives. While her fate in no way removes the trauma Nxivm’s victims will likely continue to suffer, it does highlight the government’s efforts to bring to justice all of those involved in a series of illegal acts carried out for the benefit of this organization. She recently wrote to the judge telling him that Nxivm and Keith Raniere had changed her life for the better. She will now have more than six years behind bars to contemplate that sentiment, and decide once and for all if it’s as easy to accept as she once believed it to be,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
“IRS-CI specializes in financial investigations where following the money much of the time is a result of greed,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen. “Defendant Bronfman is now paying the price for her behavior that reached a depraved level beyond just financial greed.”
Between October 2015 and January 2018, Bronfman recruited individuals into Nxivm-affiliated organizations and then sought to obtain visas or other immigration status for them based on false or fraudulent representations. Bronfman recruited one woman from Mexico (“Jane Doe 12”) to work for a fitness-related Nxivm-affiliated company. Bronfman then submitted documents purporting to hire Jane Doe 12 as a management consultant with a salary of $3,600 per month in order to secure a work visa for her, but Bronfman paid Jane Doe 12 only approximately $4,000 over the course of more than a year for her work. In response to Jane Doe 12’s pleas to be paid a living wage, Bronfman told Jane Doe 12 she would have to “earn” her visa by doing additional uncompensated work.
After the death of one of Raniere’s partners, Bronfman participated in a scheme to assist Raniere in fraudulently using the partner’s credit card information to keep money and assets out of Raniere’s name to evade paying income tax and his creditors or their judgments against him.
Five of Bronfman’s co-defendants were previously convicted on various charges and are awaiting sentencing. On June 19, 2019, Keith Raniere was convicted after a jury trial of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. On March 12, 2019, Nancy Salzman, Nxivm’s president and co-founder, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy. On March 25, 2019, Lauren Salzman, a first-line “master” in DOS, a secret society within Nxivm with levels of women “slaves” headed by “masters,” pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. On April 8, 2019, Allison Mack, another first-line “master” in DOS, pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. On April 19, 2019, Kathy Russell, a bookkeeper for Nxivm, pleaded guilty to visa fraud.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Tanya Hajjar and Mark J. Lesko are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant United States Attorney Karin Orenstein of the Office’s Civil Division is handling forfeiture matters.
Clifton Park, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-204 (S-2) (NGG)