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Who Is Clare Bronfman, the Heiress Who Funded Keith Raniere’s NXIVM?

On September 30, a federal decide sentenced Clare Bronfman, the daughter of Seagram Company billionaire Edgar M. Bronfman, to 81 months (six years and 9 months) in jail. For the higher a part of twenty years, Clare, 41, was concerned as an government board member for NXIVM (pronounced “Nexium”), a bunch accused of being a intercourse cult. Clare was sentenced for her monetary function in enabling the group.

“I am troubled by evidence suggesting that Ms. Bronfman repeatedly and consistently leveraged her wealth and social status as a means of intimidating, controlling, and punishing” individuals who have been accused of being enemies of NXIVM, stated Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn.

As The New York Times reported, Clare is the primary defendant to be sentenced within the NXIVM investigation, following its chief Keith Raniere, who’s in a federal jail now awaiting a sentence. In June 2019, Raniere was “convicted on all charges, including sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, human trafficking and multiple counts of racketeering,” per NPR.

“This trial has revealed that Raniere, who portrayed himself as a savant and a genius, was in fact a massive manipulator, a conman and crime boss of a cult-like organization involving sex trafficking, child pornography, extortion-compelled abortions, branding degradation and humiliation,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue advised reporters on the time of Raniere’s conviction.

HBO’s documentary sequence The Vow follows the story of NXIVM and Raniere, who is named “Vanguard” within the NXIVM circle. As the sequence notes, Clare and her sister, Sara, offered the cash behind the NXIVM operation from the early 2000s till 2019, the yr of Raniere’s conviction.

How did the Bronfman sisters get entangled with NXIVM?

In 1998, Raniere and psychiatric nurse Nancy Salzman established NXIVM and referred to as it a self-improvement multilevel advertising and marketing firm that specialised in “Executive Success Programs” (ESP). Raniere requested to be referred to as “Vanguard” and Salzman was referred to as “Prefect.” In an October 2003 Forbes cover story, the ladies’s father, Edgar, expressed concern over his daughters’ involvement within the group. At that point Edgar stated that Clare, then 24, had given the group $2 million at 2.5 % curiosity. Clare denied this.

At the time of the Forbes story, Sara was 26 years outdated, and stated she began taking NXIVM courses on the finish of 2002 when her marriage ended. Soon, she began working for NXIVM full-time and have become promoted to the rank of coach; the rankings at NXIVM are marked by sashes of various colours.

“I don’t know how much you know about my family,” she stated. “But, coming from a family where I’ve never had to earn anything before in my life, [it] was a very, very moving experience for me to be awarded this yellow sash. It was the first thing that I had earned on just my merits.”

At her sister’s urging, Clare reportedly began taking programs round 2003. Edgar discovered of his daughters’ new involvement and even took courses and have become a devotee. But he turned disillusioned when he noticed that Clare had donated $2 million to Raniere and Salzman.

“Whether or not you want to believe me, I do not lie, and I love you two very much,” Edgar Sr. wrote to Clare, from whom he was estranged, in 2011, per Forbes. “Someone is not telling you the truth. Why don’t you try and figure out who that might be. Who has something to gain? Certainly not me. What would be my motive? Tons of love, even if not requited, Pops.” Clare and Edgar had a strained relationship till he died in 2013.

“He was afraid that Keith and Nancy were going to clean through his daughters’ money,” Barbara Bouchey, a former NXIVM chief and ex-girlfriend of Raniere, told Forbes.

In July of 2018, Clare was indicted on racketeering, identification theft, and cash laundering costs. Sara was not charged or implicated within the case.

How concerned have been they—actually?

Forbes experiences that Raniere “took a close interest in Clare,” who had been a present jumper. She purchased a home close to NXIVM’s headquarters in Clifton Park, New York and a horse farm up the street. Raniere, who didn’t have a background with horses, educated her to be an Olympic equestrian.

“They encouraged her to compete because Keith thought if Clare made it into the Olympics he would be known as this great world coach, get fame and be exposed to the Olympian world,” Bouchey advised Forbes. Her equestrian profession did not final, however her involvement with NXIVM appeared to develop. Between the 2 sisters, it was Clare who turned deeply concerned in NXIVM, Bouchey advised the journal, “providing him with millions of dollars and paying for private air travel costing up to approximately $65,000 a flight.” Bronfman cash additionally went towards suing NXIVM’s enemies. Forbes present in its reporting that in her involvement, Clare “hired 50 to 60 lawyers from about 30 law firms to pursue cases against nearly a dozen NXIVM critics.”

“The sucking sound on Clare’s bank account was coming from lawyers and litigation,” Rick Ross, a cult skilled featured in The Vow, told Forbes. “If you go down the list of every time they hired a lawyer to advocate on their behalf or litigate on their behalf, $50 million is not out of the question.”

Why was Clare charged?

Clare was not a member of the ladies’s group inside NXIVM, which branded its members with Raniere’s initials in addition to these of Smallville actress Allison Mack, who also pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering in April 2019 and is awaiting sentencing.

But, the federal decide concluded in Septmber that Raniere wouldn’t have been in a position to perform his crimes with out Clare’s monetary help.

“I don’t know how many other multimillionaires are out there, ready to devote the limitless resources at their disposal to supporting pyramid schemes run by dangerous criminals,” Garaufis stated.

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