Keith Raniere, the founder and leader of the controversial self-help group Nxivm, was found guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering on Wednesday.
Raniere, 58, “who portrayed himself as a savant and a genius, was in fact a massive manipulator, a con man, and the crime boss of a cult-like organization involved in sex trafficking, child pornography, extortion, compelled abortions, branding, degradation and humiliation,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 25, with Raniere facing life in prison for his crimes. But he’s not the only member of Nxivm who could spend time behind bars. Smallville actress Allison Mack has pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges related to her involvement in the group.
Mack got involved in Nxivm in 2006
Raniere’s cult-like organization attracted thousands of followers, including Mack and Clare Bronfman, an heir to the Seagram’s liquor fortune. Mack, now 36, got caught up in Nxivm in 2006, when her Smallville co-star Kristin Kreuk introduced her to the group, according to an in-depth report from the Hollywood Reporter. Eventually, she rose to a high-level position in the cult, second only to Raniere.
The actress also became a leader of a secret group within Nxivm known as The Vow or D.O.S. Members of D.O.S. were known as “slaves” and were pressured to have sex with Raniere, branded with his initials, and threatened with blackmail if they did not comply with orders from their “masters” (including Mack).
The truth about Nxivm is exposed
People were asking questions about Nxivm as far back as 2003, when an article in Forbes painted Raniere as manipulative and described his group as a cult. In 2017, the New York Times published an article about a “secret sisterhood” within Nxivm. It described the branding the women were forced to endure.
Authorities began to investigate the group, and eventually a warrant was issued for Raniere’s arrest. He fled to Mexico, along with Mack and several of his other followers. He was apprehended in March 2018. Mack was arrested a month later and indicted for sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy.
Mack pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing
After her arrest, Mack was released on $5 million bail. In April 2019, she pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. But she’s not yet in prison. The actress will be sentenced September 11. She faces up to 40 years behind bars, or 20 years per count.
“Through it all, I believed Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people,” Mack said in court. “I was wrong. I must take full responsibility for my conduct and that is why I am pleading guilty today.”
Several other Nxivm members are also facing prison time related to activities they engaged in while members of the cult.
Bronfman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain, and fraudulent use of identification documents. Nancy Salzman, Nxivm’s president and co-founder, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy. Lauren Salzman, a master in D.O.S. pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. Kathy Russell, Nxivm’s bookkeeper, pleaded guilty to visa fraud. All are awaiting sentencing.
Read more: 10 Warning Signs That You Might Be In a Cult
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