NEW YORK — Keith Raniere, the founder and leader of Nxivm, was sentenced to 120 years in prison by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in federal court in Brooklyn.
Raniere, 60, of Waterford, was convicted by a federal jury in June 2019 of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. The Court also imposed a fine of $1,750,000. At the sentencing hearing, the Court heard victim impact statements from 15 people, including “Camila,” the victim who was sexually exploited by Raniere when she was 15-years-old.
A hearing on victim restitution will be held at a later date.
“The 120-year sentence imposed on Keith Raniere today is a measure of his appalling crimes committed over a decade,” Acting United States Attorney Seth D. DuCharme stated.
DuCharme extended his grateful 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 valuable assistance during the investigation and prosecution.
“Raniere’s reign of control over the women he scarred, both physically and emotionally, is the making of a horror story. It is inconceivable to think of the sexual exploitation, abuse, seclusion, and mind control his victims suffered —at his direction. Today the judge has given him 120 years to think about whether or not the torture he inflicted on others for more than a decade, and the distress he brought to their families, was worth it in the end,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. stated.
Raniere led a criminal racketeering enterprise and relied on an “inner circle” of co-conspirators to carry out his orders. The purpose of the enterprise was to promote Raniere and to recruit individuals into purported self-help organizations that Raniere founded, including Nxivm and DOS (“Dominus Obsequious Sororium”). Raniere and his co-conspirators committed a wide range of criminal activity, including sex trafficking, forced labor, alien smuggling, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
Specifically, Raniere sexually exploited “Camila,” then a 15-year-old child, and took photographs of his abuse. At the time, Raniere was 45 years old. Raniere and his co-conspirators also trafficked “Daniela” for labor and services and confined her to a room for nearly two years in an attempt to force Daniela to do work for him. “Daniela” was told that if she left the room, she would be sent to Mexico without any identification documents.
“Daniela” went months without human contact and was denied prompt medical care. During this time, Daniela wrote hundreds of letters to Raniere pleading to be released from her confinement. Daniela testified at trial that while confined to the room, she contemplated suicide.
In late 2015, Raniere created and led DOS, a secret organization in which women were recruited under the false pretense of joining a women-only mentorship group, later discovering that they had taken “vows of obedience” to women who were “slaves” to Raniere. Prospective DOS victims were required to provide “collateral” — including damaging confessions about themselves and loved ones (truthful or not), rights to financial assets, and sexually explicit photographs and videos — to prevent them from leaving the group or disclosing its existence to others.
Raniere required DOS “slaves” to take nude photographs, perform labor, and in some cases, to engage in sex acts with him. As proved at trial, the victims “Nicole” and “Jay” were among the DOS victims directed to have sex with Raniere.
Each of Raniere’s co-defendants previously pleaded guilty. On Sept. 2020, Clare Bronfman was sentenced to 81 months’ imprisonment after having been convicted of conspiracy to conceal and harbor aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of personal identification information. The remaining co-defendants are awaiting sentencing.
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, 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.