NXIVM sex cult: Seagram heiress among four arrested, additional charges against 'Smallville' star Allison Mack
Clare Bronfman, heiress to Seagram's liquor fortune, was allegedly one of the chief financial backers of the NXIVM sex cult
Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman was among the four people who were recently arrested on charges ranging from sex trafficking to extortion in connection with the reported NXIVM sex slave cult which was previously reported to be run by 'Smallville' actress Allison Mack.
In the indictments which were unsealed on Tuesday, at least ten counts of racketeering as well as federal sex trafficking charges were added to the already pending charges against Keith Raniere and Mack. On the other hand, Bronfman, Kathy Russell, Lauren Salzman and Nancy Salzman were arrested on a superseding indictment that charged them with racketeering conspiracy, as announced by the Department of Justice.
Bronfman, who is known to be the heiress to the Seagram’s liquor fortune, will reportedly be arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court on Tuesday, reports Fox News. It has been alleged that Bronfman was one of the chief financial backers of the NXIVM cult.
It is also being reported that Russell and the Salzmans will most likely be arraigned afterward in Albany since Nancy Salzman is believed to have allegedly co-run the NXIVM organization alongside Raniere.
In the indictment, it has also been revealed that the group which consisted of Bronfman, Russell, and the Salzmans made up Raniere’s “inner circle” and they all helped him in various illicit activities such as conspiracy to commit crimes like identity theft, harboring of aliens for financial gain, extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, money laundering, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
The legal documents also speak about the fact that members of this 'inner circle' held some very high positions in the cult, and allegedly had power in its "Pyramid Organizations," since they had previously served on the executive board of NXIVM. But since the activities of the group were highly illegal in nature, the documents speak about them as an organized crime "enterprise."
"The principal purpose of the Enterprise was to obtain financial and personal benefits for the members of the Enterprise by promoting the defendant Keith Raniere, also known as 'Vanguard,' and by recruiting new members into the Pyramid Organization," the indictment reads.
"By promoting Raniere and recruiting others into the Pyramid Organizations, the members of the Enterprise expected to receive financial opportunities and increased power and status within the Enterprise."
As has been previously reported, 'Smallville' star Allison Mack was charged with sex trafficking and forcing women to be slaves in the controversial self-help group, which has been branded as a sex cult by many. A statement from the U.S. Attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York confirmed that Allison faced charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy. If convicted, she faces 15 years in prison.
Allison's charges are in connection to the role she played at NXIVM. The statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office said the actress recruited women to join what was sold as a female mentorship group that addressed their weaknesses. In reality, however, the group was created by the founder to exploit women sexually.
"The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants’ benefit," Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in the statement.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney said the actress's case brought to light an "inconceivable crime" and referred to the cult as a "pyramid scheme" in which Keith stood at the top with levels of female "slaves" underneath him. He added that Allison was on the first level below Raniere in this said pyramid.
It was also reported at the time of Mack's arrest that she allegedly tried to rope in other popular celebrities like Kelly Clarkson and Emma Watson into her cult and did all she could to recruit them for her alleged sex group. Mack reached out to the 'Harry Potter' actress in 2016 about an “amazing women’s movement” she wanted to speak to the actress about, although she never mentioned the cult by name in any of her tweets.
According to reports, despite receiving no response from Watson, she approached musician Kelly Clarkson in one of her tweets, which said, “@kelly_clarkson I heard through the grapevine that you’re a fan of Smallville. I’m a fan of yours as well! I’d love to chat sometime.”
After Mack's involvement in the sex cult was made public, a video emerged of her raving about the alleged sex cult from October 2013. In the bizarre YouTube video, titled 'Allison Mack Q&A — You Asked, I Answered,' 35-year-old Mack talks about the organization as if it is spearheading a women's rights movement.
Mack is seen seated in a verdant garden with jazz music playing in the background. The actress starts off the 13-minute long video by professing she wants to leave a mark on the world. She also gloats about her work for Jness, a supposed "women's empowerment group" that is affiliated to Nxivm. Mack comments that her work for Jness is "the most gratifying thing I have ever done."
She also goes on to add that the best part of her job was watching women involved in Jness "evolve and transform". She talks about how the women who join get a chance to restart their lives and get a new experience of themselves. "Watching the women who are involved in Jness completely transform and evolve in a way that is so pure, is such a privilege," she says in the video.