Data on Bronfman’s failed Los Angeles project, and the roles of Bouchey and Plyam, point to Raniere as the swindler

Keith Raniere
I suspected something was wrong in December 2007 [see earlier post] when I was asked to find a $5 million loan for Clare and Sara Bronfman.
The money was to be used for an investment in a residential real estate project in Los Angeles.  Under the guidance of Keith Raniere, the Bronfmans were building about 30 hillside homes in Los Angeles county.  Each home was to be sold for more than $1 million, some for much more than that.
Since the Bronfmans had good credit, and, I was told, they owned the land free and clear, it should be easy to get a $5 million first mortgage on properties.
When I examined the project, I was surprised to learn that they had already invested $26 million. After two years, not a single home had been completed.
By chance, I ran into Barbara Bouchey at a restaurant. She was the Bronfman’s financial manager and an ardent follower of Keith Raniere. I told Miss Bouchey about my concerns about the Los Angeles project.
She told me something surprising: that while the Bronfman sisters had invested more than $26 million. they did not own the real estate and had nothing in writing to secure their investment.
Nancy Salzman was, in fact, the owner of record, along with a Los Angeles developer, Yuri Plyam, who was described as “Keith’s best friend.”
Keith Raniere had authorized sending all the money for the real estate project. But Miss Bouchey’s name, not his, was on the authorization slips for the money that had been wired out of the Bronfmans’ accounts.
I told her this was a highly suspicious investment. Miss Bouchey said she had been trying to tell Mr. Raniere the same thing.
After we left, I was called by one of Mr. Raniere’s assistants. She told me that Nancy Salzman asked that I please not talk with Barbara Bouchey about the project because she was “high strung and given to bizarre imaginations”.
I was told that Ms. Bouchey was kept in her position as manager of the Bronfmans’ money only because of Mr. Raniere’s compassion for her.  Mr. Raniere, in fact, personally handled all the Bronfmans’ investments – and worked through Miss Bouchey’s “more stable” employee, a woman named  Becky Freeman.
I was also told that Nancy and Lauren Salzman, Pam Cafritz and others were working overtime giving Miss Bouchey “Exploration of Meaning”  (EM) therapies to calm her down.
I spoke to Nancy Salzman directly. I told her my concerns about the project. She admonished me, saying I did not understand the genius of Keith Raniere.
I told her she did not understand that if the Bronfmans were being swindled, as I suspected, she and Barbara Bouchey might be charged as co- conspirators.
At that time, I did not suspect Keith Raniere.
Instead, I suspected the Bronfmans’ Los Angeles partner, Yuri Plyam.
I told Nancy Salzman I was going to Los Angeles to find out what was going on.
When I arrived, I believed that Mr. Plyam was handling the project in a suspicious manner.
Mr. Plyam, however, immediately agreed to sign an agreement putting the Bronfmans’ name on the company that owned the real estate.
As I recall, Mr. Plyam told me [January 2008] that he had been trying to get Mr. Raniere and Nancy Salzman to formalize the real estate deal in writing for almost two years before I got involved.
It was Mr. Raniere, not Mr. Plyam, who did not want the Bronfman’s name on anything.
When I told Mr. Raniere that Mr. Plyam was prepared to sign over a share of the company to the Bronfmans, he agreed to allow the Bronfmans to have their name on the company.
Within hours, I received a call from Miss Salzman, asking me to take her name off the project and give her share to the Bronfmans.
I did that and Mr. Plyam signed a new agreement that gave the Bronfmans’ majority control of the company that owned all the real estate in Los Angeles.
Thus, within a few weeks of my arrival, the Bronfmans had gone from having zero ownership to 66 percent ownership of real estate in which they had invested $26 million to obtain hillside properties and develop them.
I still had suspicions, however, about the manner in which the development was being conducted. Not a single home was finished and there were foundations built on more than a dozen lots scattered across Los Angeles County.
Mr. Plyam explained that, per the original plan with Mr. Raniere [which was not in writing], the entire $26 million was to be used to build the very expensive and carefully engineered foundations for the homes, all of which were to be built on steep hillsides.
Mr. Plyam said he explained to Mr. Raniere that a “construction mortgage” could be obtained for a difficult-to-build hillside home only after the foundation was built and approved.
Mr. Raniere denied knowing any such thing and sent me, through Karen Unterreiner’s email, pictures of the homes taken almost two years ago showing that he had a different understanding.
There was nothing in writing to prove this one way or another.
Either way, I believed there was as much as $10 million missing.
Mr. Raniere had directed the Bronfman’s to wire $26 million to the Los Angeles project. It appeared to me that only about $16 million made it into the project.
I retained Ted Phelps, a forensic accountant from Los Angeles, to conduct a forensic audit.  I instructed him to investigate without bias, without seeking a predetermined result. If Mr. Plyam was innocent of stealing money, I wanted him to put that in writing and share it with me, the Bronfmans, our mutual attorney, Robert Crockett, and Mr. Plyam and his lawyers.
I also suggested that Mr. Phelps and I conduct an additional audit to determine what happened to some $65 million that the Bronfmans had “lost’ in the commodities market.  Mr. Plyam had been the commodities broker.
Mr. Phelps began his audit on the Los Angeles real estate.
I began to investigate the $65 million loss in the commodities market.
I questioned Clare Bronfman about her $65 million loss in commodities. She told me that Keith Raniere handled all the investments for her and her sister.
She told me that Keith had devised a mathematically perfect system to make an enormous profit in commodities. But Mr. Raniere explained to her that her father, the late billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr., had foiled the plan. Her powerful father had manipulated the commodities market to make sure they lost all their money in order to embarrass Keith and drive a wedge between Keith and her and her sister, Sara.
I asked her if she had any actual proof that the $65 million she and her sister lost really went into commodities.
She said no.
I asked if Keith had proof.  She said she would ask him and get back to me.
She never got back to me.
I was fired.
James Del Negro was placed in charge of the Los Angeles project.
A few months later, Mr. Phelps was fired.  I was told by a source involved in the project that Mr. Phelps was fired because he did not find Mr. Plyam had stolen any money, and because he would not adjust his findings to divert attention away from the possibility that Mr. Raniere had stolen money or misled Mr. Plyam with an intent to sabotage the project.
The Bronfmans started a lawsuit against Mr. Phelps. It was an intense litigation assault, the purpose of which was ostensibly to get a refund of the money he had been paid in retainer.
I suspect the true purpose was to silence him.
I believe he settled and most likely with a gag order to not discuss his findings with the press or Mr. Plyam.
Mr. Phelps, who had an unblemished reputation in his field, was up against unlimited wealth and, behind the money was Keith Raniere, who was likely hell bent on destroying his practice and reputation if he did not concede.
At the time I was fired, I did not suspect Mr. Raniere of stealing.
I thought him merely incompetent.
After he began his multi-front attacks on me, I started a more serious investigation. I later learned much more about him.
I have come to believe Keith Raniere is willing to steal, perjure, bribe, lie, rape, mutilate, extort, swindle, and deceive. I also believe he has done all of those things many times.
I suspect he is willing to do [and may have done] bodily harm to his enemies – even up to and including murder.
I suspect he would do this to both his enemies and his “friends” for he does not distinguish between them.
His greatest talent is in deceiving people that he is concerned about them, as he destroys their lives and robs them of their dignity and freedom.
K Raniere 4 brighterr
Keith Raniere said he has had people killed for his beliefs and for their beliefs. It is unclear if he meant it literally, but there are some who are determined to find out.


About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Keith has been telling his inner circle that he’s “had people killed for his beliefs” since at least the late 90s.

  • Blaming others for his fuck-ups is standard operating procedure for Raniere. He’s a lot like Trump in that way.

    And blowing up projects before they’re completed so he can claim that whoever was running them was cheating the Bronfmans out of more of their money is another standard ploy for Raniere. It’s how he hides how much he’s stolen from them over the years.

    What’s really amazing is that neither of the Bronfmans have ever figured out what saps they are. Sad…

    • Seriously, the Bronfman sisters are huge dolts. Do you think VanDouche hasn’t been pilfering siphoning off all their money he’s been getting them to “invest” in various ventures into his own hidden accounts. Why do you think there is never any documentation for any of it and he wants it that way? It’s about time the Federal authorities and the IRS gets involved.

      • Don’t count on that. A lot of Feds have been paid off or scared off by Raniere ot the Bronfmans. The same, of course, is true with respect to at least one New York State Police Investigator who, even now, is trying to protect NXIVM’s secrets by holding onto computers and personal materials that were seized from Raniere’s avowed “enemies”. Isn’t it amazing what money and photographs can do a man’s conscience?

        • The Feds work for the Constitution, not some conman sociopath who controls two stupid brats with a lot of money. If he has bought off so many of these people as you allege, then internal affairs needs to get involved. The Bronfman brats aren’t originally Americans but Canadians.

  • If you were told by Keith Raniere or any of his followers that when he said on tape “I’ve had people killed for my beliefs” that is was about him advising a family in Mexico to not pay the kidnappers and later two family members were killed. It’s a lie. I was told that lie but I did the research.
    He was taped in April of 2009 saying I’ve had people killed. The kidnapping did not take place until months later. Raniere may be many things but physic is not one of the things he has ever claimed to be.

    Let’s examine he was physic and it was what he meant on the tape.

    Why would he send two family member to their deaths knowing ahead of time they would be killed.

    He is either lying or he’s physic and it was for his pure pleasure knowing the family member would be gunned down following his advise.

    So what is it – Sick or Lying to his flock

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083