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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

NXIVM Leader Keith Raniere Sentenced to 120 Years in Prison for Racketeering and Sex Trafficking Offenses

Keith Raniere, the founder and leader of Nxivm, was sentenced today to 120 years in prison by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in federal court in Brooklyn.  Raniere 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 individuals, 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.

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 Field Office (IRS-CI), announced the sentence.

“The 120-year sentence imposed on Keith Raniere today is a measure of his appalling crimes committed over a decade,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme.  “Raniere exploited and abused his victims emotionally, physically and sexually for his personal gratification.  It is my hope that today’s sentence brings closure to the victims and their families.”  Mr. 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,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.

“Sexual exploitation of children and women is among the most reprehensible and vile forms of crime,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen. “While Keith Raniere’s sentence cannot erase the pain his victims have endured, I hope it provides an opportunity for healing and a path forward. Today’s sentencing should be a warning for criminals around the world. Regardless of the illegal enterprise and whether the profits are tangible or not, IRS-CI will decode illicit schemes and hold criminals accountable for the pain, suffering and financial abuse of their victims.”

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 September 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.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Tanya Hajjar, Mark J. Lesko and Kevin Trowel are in charge of the prosecution.  Assistant United States Attorney Karin Orenstein of the Office’s Civil Division is handling forfeiture matters.

The Defendant:

KEITH RANIERE (also known as “Vanguard” and “Grandmaster”)
Age:  60
Waterford, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-204 (S-2) (NGG)

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Immigration
Contact: 
John Marzulli United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated October 27, 2020