Here are a half-dozen select samples of facts revealed in numerous articles about Raniere and NXIVM:
• Gina Hutchinson was raped by Raniere when she was only 15. She later went to a park near a monastery and committed suicide by shooting herself in the head.
• Kristin Snyder, a 35-year-old environmental consultant, disappeared after a NXIVM session in Alaska. Her body was never found, but in her truck, parked on the shore of Resurrection Bay, was a note which read, “I was brainwashed and my emotional center of the brain was killed/turned off.… Please contact my parents … if you find me or this note. I am sorry … I didn’t know I was already dead.”
• An underaged teenage boy living at the NXIVM compound was forced to videotape Raniere having sex with his underage sisters, as well as other Raniere sexual encounters.
• Raniere and the Bronfman sisters- who together have been described as “a litigation machine” hired investigative firms, including Groupe Canaprobe of Montreal to illegally obtain personal and financial records of U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer; the publisher and editor of the Albany Times Union; investigative reporter James Odato, Rick Ross, a professional cult expert and deprogrammer, and four federal judges in Albany: U.S. District Chief Judge Gray l. Sharpe; U.S.Magistrate Randolph F. Treece; U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Littlefield Jr. Jr., and U.S. Senior Judge Thomas J. Avoy and two federal judges in New Jersey: U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh and U.S. Magistrate Mark Falk. All of the federal judges were overseeing cases where NXIVM was suing some enemy.
• People at NXIVM therapy sessions were made to believe bizarre and terrible things about themselves such as being “reincarnated Nazis” or responsible for 9/11.
• Raniere offered to tutor the 12-year old daughter of a woman who worked for him. Instead of tutoring her, Raniere had sex with the 12-year-old approximately 60 times in his townhouse, empty offices, an elevator, even a broom closet. The girl ran away from home so she wouldn’t have to see him again. She reported the statutory rapes to the state police two years later when she was 14 years old. The police did nothing.
There is not enough space in this article to catalog the crimes of Raniere or how through Bronfman financed lawsuits he destroyed the lives of dozens of his enemies or those who escaped his control. The lawsuits would drag on until his victims were driven into bankruptcy and their careers and families ruined. Better still, by paying a virtual fortune to attorney and investigators Raniere could sometimes attain his chief prize – a criminal indictment against one of their enemies. Contracts that came up in discovery show that Raniere offered as much as one million dollars to agents, lawyers and political operatives if they could arrange for various enemies to be indicted.
Lawsuits are Raniere’s tool of vengeance, like the one against Parlato.
While Raniere may be the evil controller of events, it is the Bronfmans who provide him the money to maintain that control. Sara was the first Bronfman to join NXIVM in the fall of 2002, after her 4-month marriage to an Irish jockey fell apart. She was 25 at the time and described by acquaintances as a sweet girl, but “an airhead” party girl who flitted around European cities and tropical islands. A friend said she was “desperately looking for a purpose in her life.”
Apparently she found her purpose at NXIVM. Enamored by Raniere she was immediately seduced into the NXIVM ranks and quickly asked her sister Clare to come join her. It wasn’t long before Sara and Clare were NXIVM leaders. They paid a hefty price for that honor. Raniere sucked millions out of their personal fortunes. The control Raniere exerts over the Bronfman sisters is extraordinary. But Raniere is master of controlling people through their vulnerabilities and both Clare and Sara Bronfman have father issues, which he exploited, but unlike Clare who is was accomplished equestrian and owner of a thoroughbred horse farm, Sara is further burdened, by her own account, with a deep sense of worthlessness. One person noted that Raniere’s control and influence over Sara was “that he made her important in her own mind.” In the Forbes article Sara is described caressing her yellow NXIVM sash of achievement and gushing that it was “the first thing that I earned on just my merits.”
According to court documents within the span of six years, the Bronfman sisters blew through $150 million of their fortune to “cover Raniere’s failed bets in the commodities market” ($66 million), “to buy real estate in Los Angeles and around Albany” ($30 million), to purchase a 22-seat private jet ($11 million) and “millions more to support a barrage of lawsuits across the country against NXIVM’s enemies.”
The Los Angeles real estate referred to above is the deal that Parlato got involved in and is now accused of defrauding the Bronfmans of $1 million.
By late 2007, the Bronfmans had sunk $26.4 million into a Los Angeles real-estate project, a joint venture with Yuri Plyam who was purportedly Raniere’s “best friend.” Plyam was also the commodities broker who handled the commodities transactions the sisters lost $66 million dollars on, although curiously there are no records of any transactions ever being made and the Bronfmans never saw anything documenting the trades, either.
At any rate, the Bronfmans and Plyam set up the company Precision Development to build houses and condominiums in the wealthier neighborhoods of Los Angeles. According to Plyam, the project was Raniere’s idea, although his name did not appear on any of the documents. Neither, initially, would the Bronfmans. Raniere told him Sara and Clare’s involvement had to be kept secret, because they were trying to hide the Precision Development investment from their father. As usual, Raniere controlled everything.
As court documents and the Bronfmans own testimony show, because of suspicions about the development project, Parlato went to Los Angeles, acting as the Bronfmans’ consultant, and discovered that Plyam diverted $10 million of the Bronfmans’ money into Plyam’s own personal real estate. Parlato confronted Plyam and got him to sign over to the Bronfmans the Los Angeles real estate the Bronfmans had paid for. Parlato also secured for the Bronfmans controlling interest in the development company, Precision, which before Parlato arrived they had zero documented ownership interest. He also secured for them controlling interest in a construction company, Castle Asset Management, which had substantial construction equipment which the Bronfmans had paid for. Parlato, further, through his team of investigators, discovered where most of the diverted (stolen) money went to: Plyam had built million dollar plus properties in Lake Arrowhead, a $5 million mansion in Beverly Hills for himself and purchased other properties in Los Angeles titled in various shell companies or relatives’ names. Parlato persuaded Plyam to turn over some of those properties and on the rest Parlato filed liens (lis pendens) pending litigation so that Plyam couldn’t sell them and abscond with the Bronfman’s money.
Plyam later accused the Bronfmans of hiring Parlato to successfully “wrest control” of the company away from him, but the Bronfmans and Parlato won that lawsuit when a jury found that Parlato was right and that Plyam had diverted (stolen) more than $10 from the Bronfmans. In the trial against Plyam, Clare Bronfman admitted that but for Parlato, the $26 million would have been lost and probably more would have been stolen by Plyam.
While Parlato was in the thick of rescuing the Los Angeles project, fighting both for physical control of the properties and in court for a legal injunction to prevent Plyam from stripping the properties, the Bronfmans and Raniere promised Parlato if he was successful he could complete the development – which was now in shambles – for a one third interest in the project.
To seal the deal, Raniere told the Bronfmans to advance Parlato $1 million to cover taxes at One Niagara so he could stay in Los Angeles and rescue their Los Angeles project that was teetering on the brink. One Niagara was to be used as collateral for the $1 million and Parlato would repay the $1 million from the earnings of his promised share of the development.
But Raniere had no intention of honoring the agreement. As soon as Parlato successfully recovered the $26 million in assets, secured the physical real estate and control of the company through the successful lawsuit against Plyams on behalf of the Bronfmans, Raniere and the Bronfmans fired Parlato and demanded the $1 million back. Since the $1 million was supposed to be repaid out of the profits of the development Parlato felt he was the one defrauded.
Parlato set aside the $1 million, putting it in escrow, went back to work at One Niagara and paid the taxes due from One Niagara profits. And he set out to fight the Bronfmans in court. The Bronfmans filed suit; in it they swore under oath that there was no written contract, so they did not owe Parlato one third of the project; Parlato filed a countersuit. Then the Bronfmans asked for an adjournment on the civil litigation. Parlato granted the delay thinking that they could settle the dispute amicably. Instead, the Bronfmans filed a criminal complaint with the FBI. In the course of time, Parlato eventually sold One Niagara.
It’s ironic that Anthony Bruce believes he is prosecuting Frank Parlato over an alleged fraud for $1 million in the interest of the Bronfman sisters when he is really acting in the interests of Raniere, a tax evading, money laundering, bribing, coercive child molester who has bilked the Bronfmans for what is now likely over $200 million of their inheritance money.