The heir to a multi-billion dollar liquor fortune who helped fund Nxivm and the group’s leader Keith Raniere with her family fortune was photographed leaving a Brooklyn courthouse on Tuesday after pleading not guilty to racketeering.
Clare Bronfman, dressed in blue jeans and a white t-shirt, was seen leaving federal court after posting her $100million bail. Bronfman kept her ankle monitor hidden under her jeans.
Bronfman, the heir to a multi-billion dollar liquor fortune and step-daughter of British actor Nigel Havers, is accused of racketeering conspiracy in the new superseding indictment in the case.
Clare Bronfman was pictured leaving a Brooklyn court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to racketeering
The heir to a multi-billion dollar liquor fortune was photographed leaving the courthouse after posting her $100million bail
Bronfman had to agree to wear an ankle monitor but kept it hidden underneath her jeans. She is pictured above leaving court on Tuesday
That indictment also accuses Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren and Nxivm bookkeeper Kathy Russell of the same offenses.
This brings the total number of members arrested to six, with leader Keith Raniere and his right-hand woman Allison Mack having already been indicted back in May.
Bronfman has hired Susan R. Necheles, one of the top white-collar attorneys in the country, to handle her case.
‘Raniere and Bronfman conspired to commit identity theft arising out of a scheme to obtain the e-mail usernames and passwords of perceived enemies and critics of Raniere in order to monitor their electronic communications,’ states a release from the US Attorney’s Office.
‘Raniere and Bronfman participated in an identity theft conspiracy involving the use of credit card and banking information belonging to one of Raniere’s sexual partners after her death in November 2016. Bronfman sent Raniere regular emails documenting expenses charged to the woman’s credit card for Raniere’s “review and approval.” Those expenses included payments to a chiropractor for Raniere’s benefit, as well as thousands of dollars’ worth of clothing and shoe purchases for the mother of Raniere’s child.
She is accused of racketeering conspiracy in the new superseding indictment in the case
Bronfman is pictured leaving a Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday after pleading not guilty
Hard-knock heiress: Clare Bronfman was arrested on racketeering conspiracy charges on Tuesday morning and will be indicted in a Brooklyn court on Tuesday afternoon
Leaders of the pack: The heiress to the Seagram liquor fortune, 39, is accused of running a pyramid scheme in order to enrich Keith Raniere, the leader of Nxivm (Allison Mack on left in May, Keith Raniere in an undated video on right)
‘Bronfman encouraged and induced the illegal entry into the United States of an alien for Bronfman’s financial gain, engaging in international wire transfers to make it fraudulently appear that the victim had the financial resources to obtain an investor visa.’
‘Raniere and his inner circle, including the defendants Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman and Kathy Russell also known as “Prefect,” and others known and unknown, comprised an organized criminal enterprise (the “Enterprise”), reads the new indictment.
‘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 Organizations.
‘By promoting Raniere and recruiting others into the Pytu-id Organizations, the members of the Enterprise expected to receive financial opportunities and increased power and status within the Enterprise.’
Among the criminal offenses that members of this group allegedly carried out are ‘identity theft, harboring of aliens for financial gain, extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, money laundering, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.’
Bronfman is not accused of sex trafficking.
It was however Bronfman and her sister Sara who helped woo Allison Mack when she considered joining the group according to multiple sources who previously spoke with DailyMail.com.
Mack was also aggressively recruited in hopes that she would become their Tom Cruise-like figure and publicize the group much like the actor had done with Scientology.
The Bronfmans helped with this by flying Mack private, all part of the $150 million the two have allegedly put into Nxivm over the past two decades.
Bronfman, 39, is the youngest daughter of Edgar Bronfman Sr, the billionaire philanthropist who was formerly head of Seagram.
Her mother is Rita Webb, the British-born second wife of Bronfman, who would divorce and then remarry Edgar shortly after Bronfman’s birth. Rita Webb – now known as Georgiana Bronfman – has since married British Chariots Of Fire actor Nigel Havers, making Clare is step-daughter.
Rita and Edgar’s second divorce split the family, with the girls living in England and Kenya with their mother while their father stayed in thew United States.
They would visit him in New York City as well as his nearby home in Westchester, and even took him to a Nxivm meeting at one point.
When she was 17, Bronfman began to compete in equestrian events, something she would continue to do for a decade.
She was ranked 12th in the country and 80th in the world at her peak.
Bronfman gave it all up though for Nxivm.
Two of a kind: Bronfman joined Nxivm with her sister Sara (pair above in 2017) who has not been arrested
Mommy and me: Nxivm co-founder Nancy Salzman (left) and her daughter Lauren (right) were also arrested on Tuesday
Daddy and me: Bronfman and her father in a photo she posted to Instagram (above)
Clare clears: Bronfman was once the 8th ranked America woman on the equestrian circuit
Loved up: Bronfman’s mother Rita Webb and father in 1974, just before the two were married
‘I retired from a very successful career as a professional show-jumper because I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life,’ said Bronfman last year while defending Raniere.
‘NXIVM is that. As I said, the programs help. I am happy, healthy and financially more successful than I have ever been.’
She and Sara both decided to not only join Nxivm but to relocate to upstate New York so they could become involved in teaching and training new members.
Bronfman went on step further though and became involved in organizing Vanguard Week, the annual week-long celebration of Raniere’s birthday brought together all of the group’s members.
The sisters were able to use their connections to attract big name guests like the Dalai Lama, who visited the group and made an appearance in Albany after the Bronfmans put up a $1 million donation.
That was done through the charitable organization they founded with Raniere, World Ethical Foundations Consortium.
That money comes from their grandfather, who founded Bronfman’s Distillers Corporation.
Samuel Bronfman was born in Imperial Russia but immigrated to Canada, where he later purchased another liquor company, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons.
He decided to change the name of the company given the success Seagram already had with their branded liquors such as Dewars and Seven Crown.
He purchased that company at the perfect time as Prohibition took effect in the United States, forcing many Americans to travel across the border to buy or consume liquor.
The company would even ship liquor to a few northern cities, breaking no laws since they were producing the product in Montreal, where it was legal.
His son Edgar would become CEO, and in 1933 took control of the first Seagram subsidiary in the United States.
Edgar had five children with his first wife, Ann Loeb: Samuel, Matthew, Edgar Jr, Holly and Adam.
Samuel made headlines when he was allegedly kidnapped in 1975 by two men who demanded $2.3 million ransom.
The boy, 21, was eventually found in a Brooklyn apartment along with two other men and the ransom money stashed under a bed.
One of the two kidnappers, who were both from Ireland, said that he and Samuel were lovers.
His kidnappers were later acquitted when they claimed Samuel was in on the crime, and hoping to get a share of his father’s wealth.
That is something that the sisters were also accused of doing when in 2009 they claimed that a group was threatening to go public with damaging secrets if they did not hand over $2.1 million.
Edgar and his most successful son, Edgar Jr, became estranged after he told his namesake that he should not marry first wife Sherry Brewer because she was black.
Edgar’s other two sons, Matthew and Adam, are both successful businessman, while his daughter Holly moved to India and converted to Hindu, changing her name to Bhavani Lev.
Clare and Sara did not spend as much time with these siblings however given the fact that they lived on the other side of the world and were decades younger than their father’s other children.
That brought the sisters close, and now prison could tear them apart.
Sara is still a free woman, but her sister is facing some serious time behind bars if convicted on these charges.
‘As alleged in the superseding indictment, for over a decade, Keith Raniere was the leader of a racketeering conspiracy in which he and members of his inner circle committed a broad range of serious crimes from identity theft and obstruction of justice to sex trafficking, all to promote and protect Raniere and Nxivm,’ said US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue in a statement’
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney also gave a statement on Tuesday.
‘As alleged, this long-running conspiracy crossed multiple avenues of criminal activity, which included, among other things, electronic monitoring; identity theft; extortion; victim smuggling; and illegal trafficking of a victim after a period of unlawful confinement,’ said Sweeney.
‘The details of these alleged crimes become more and more grim as we continue to dig deeper into the conduct of this organization and its intended mission.
‘Today’s superseding indictment highlights our commitment to bringing justice to Nxivm’s many victims.’
CLARE BRONFMAN STATEMENT ON NXIVM ALLEGATIONS
The past few months have been deeply painful for me, as I have seen my friends, associates, and the organization I care for come under fire. Some have asked me why I remain a member and why I still support NXIVM and Keith Raniere. The answer is simple: I’ve seen so much good come from both our programs and from Keith himself. It would be a tragedy to lose the innovative and transformational ideas and tools that continue to improve the lives of so many.
There have been many defamatory accusations made and I have taken them seriously. Determining the truth is extremely important to me, and I can say firmly that neither NXIVM nor Keith have abused or coerced anyone.
I retired from a very successful career as a professional show-jumper because I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life. NXIVM is that. As I said, the programs help. I am happy, healthy and financially more successful than I have ever been. I frequently hear and witness stories of individuals improving relationships with loved ones, achieving business goals they never imagined, and overcoming some of the most debilitating conditions, amongst other things.
My experience with Keith is no different. I have witnessed his kindness even in the hardest of times, I have seen world leaders, business leaders, doctors and others seek his counsel on some of the hardest topics and I am inspired by the humility and compassion with which he approaches them all. I know him to be a man dedicated to the betterment of the lives of others, and most importantly for me, he is a dear friend who has and continues to help me through the difficult decisions and painful moments in my life, including my father’s illness and eventual death.
Lastly, while I am not and never have been a member of the sorority, I was reassured to hear from one of the leading forensic psychiatrists in the country, and additionally ex-law enforcement investigators of over thirty years, conclude that the sorority has not coerced nor abused anyone. In fact, the sorority has truly benefited the lives of its members, and does so freely. I find no fault in a group of women (or men for that matter) freely taking a vow of loyalty and friendship with one another to feel safe while pushing back against the fears that have stifled their personal and professional growth. It’s not for any of us to judge how they, or anyone else, choose to advance their lives and values.