FBI probe of NXIVM expands beyond sex trafficking

Keith Raniere AKA Vanguard

According to multiple sources – and as reported by Brendan Lyons in the Albany Times Union – numerous people involved with NXIVM have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in Brooklyn.

Artvoice has heard that 10 NXIVM members have been subpoenaed to testify this week.

Based on who reportedly has been subpoenaed, it appears clear the criminal investigation of NXIVM is expanding beyond sex trafficking and forced labor.

NXIVM leader Keith Raniere was arrested on March 25th in Mexico by Mexican federal police. He was living with several  ‘slave’ women including  Allison Mack, Nicki Clyne, Loreta Garza and others in a luxury villa in Puerto Vallarta.

Raniere fled to Monterrey, Mexico last November shortly after news of his branding and blackmailing women made worldwide news.

Artvoice broke the story that Raniere left the country and provided stealth photos for readers. Raniere reportedly told NXIVM members he had received death threats in Albany that necessitated his hasty departure from the USA.

Following his arrest last Sunday, Raniere was extradited to the US and is being held without bail in a federal prison in Oklahoma City, OK.

The expanding investigation by the DOJ Eastern District of NY appears to be focusing on NXIVM finances, including allegations of money laundering, bulk cash smuggling, tax fraud and other crimes. all of which were originally reported to the feds in the Western District of New York by this writer in 2015 –  and all of which were totally ignored.

This has prompted some to wonder how many sex trafficking victims would have been spared had the Western District of New York been as competent as the Eastern District. The human branding and blackmailing occurred after this writer brought the Western District of New York substantial evidence of Raniere’s crimes in 2015.

Investigators with the Internal Revenue Service assigned in the Eastern District have now reportedly joined the probe.

Among those subpoenaed are brothers Justin, Marc and Brian Elliot.

Justin was a known lover of high-rank NXIVM board member Alejandro ‘Alex’ Betancourt and is rumored to have aided Betancourt by smuggling cash to Raniere from Mexico.

NXIVM encouraged Mexican students to pay cash for their programs and would reportedly mark the students as having gotten a scholarship in order to evade taxes.

Allison Mack came to Keith Raniere as a successful actress in a starring role in a TV show. Under his tutelage, she became a slave of Keith Raniere and now quite possibly a convict. Too bad for her that Hollywood already did that “Orange Is The New Black” show. She’d have been a natural for the starring role. 

NXIVM members Clare Bronfman, Karen Unterreiner, Lauren Salzman and Nancy Salzman facilitated the cash transactions, according to multiple eyewitnesses, and used various code words for cash to disguise the income from authorities.

Marc Elliot claims to have been cured of Tourette’s Syndrome by NXIVM programs and recruited members by claiming NXIVM cures Tourette’s.

All three brothers recruited members for NXIVM, which has been described as a pyramid scheme.

Last week, the FBI raided the home of NXIVM president Nancy Salzman. Agents came at about 7:30 AM and remained until early evening, carrying away boxes of items, neighbors told Artvoice.

Following the raid, Salzman moved from her home, taking her remaining possessions not seized by authorities.  She is living at an undisclosed location and it is not known if she is in hiding. As of last week, she met with remaining NXIVM members to accuse this writer of being behind the latest ‘false charges’ against Raniere.

Raniere has not been arraigned and it is not known if he has been indicted by a grand jury – a formal – largely procedural step required for Raniere to stand trial.

Raniere is expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate in Brooklyn within the next two weeks for arraignment and a hearing over whether he should be allowed to post bail.

It is expected that Raniere’s attorneys will seek his release on bail pending his trial which likely will not take place for at least a year.  The U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York opposes bail and filed a detailed motion seeking to detain Raniere in federal custody until his trial.

The DOJ argues that Raniere is dangerous and a flight risk – an argument bolstered by his hiding in Mexico for months and his alleged attempts to cause personal harm to several people that he considers to be “enemies”.

Other people believed to have been subpoenaed or expected to be subpoenaed are Kathy Russell, Karen Abney, Ben Meyers, Angel Smith, Shelly Tarzia, James Del Negro, and Esther Chiappone Carlson.

Mack was with Raniere in Mexico when he was arrested. It is not known if she has returned to the US. She is expected to be charged as a co-conspirator in the Raniere case.

Calls to Nancy Salzman and Mack went unanswered.

Raniere could not be reached by phone at the federal prison where he is being held.

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Frank Parlato


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  • I’m guessing Marc Elliot is going to have a sudden relapse of Tourette’s Syndrome. “That motherfucker Vanguard! That son-of-a-bitch Prefect!” Etc., etc., etc.

  • Anyone here think Bronfman’s will “pony up” to “lawyer up” everyone the
    Government questions?

    • Are you serious? Do you really think Clare Bear is going to hire 10 attorneys to represent all those who have already been subpoenaed? She doesn’t give a rat’s ass about any of these people on a personal level and she’s going to have forgotten most of their names by the end of the month.They’re all going to be on their own and most don’t have enough money to hire a lawyer to fight a traffic ticket, let alone prep them for grand jury testimony that could end up getting them indicted. Simply put, they’re all fucked.

  • “Other people believed to have been subpoenaed or expected to be subpoenaed are Kathy Russell, Karen Abney, Ben Meyers, Angel Smith, Shelly Tarzia, James Del Negro, and Esther Chiappone Carlson.”

    All the above hold down the fort at Karner Road as office staff or in Ben’s case IT work. What about Michelle Salzman? Isn’t she a bookkeeper or something there?

    Michelle and Ben may never make it to their nuptials. Imagine continuing to plan a wedding as if nothing was wrong, when your Vanguard has been arrested, your mother’s house raided, and your sister in on the lam? That is a lifetime of thought reform and gaslighting to be able to continue on. Imagine the cognitive dissonance they are experiencing.

    • Sara Bronfman keeps tweeting away like absolutely nothing has happened.
      I wonder if she thinks she has insulated herself from all this by moving to Europe.

      • She may actually be protected by her long absence. That being said, even if I’m wrong, both Bronfmans together don’t have the resources of the Federal Government.

        • I think Clare and Sara were particularly close because none of their half-siblings were interested in anything to do with them (as far as I knew). At the same time, I think Clare has always resented Sara for being more attractive (not that I am saying Sara is attractive…just more so than Clare). Now that Sara has her own family, I wonder how much she is willing to put on the line.
          I mean, seriously, at what point does somebody wake up and realise that is their 8M$ sitting in Pam’s account that he was using?

    • Well, if Michelle and Ben do get married, Nancy is going to save a shitload on the wedding because many of the people who would have been invited will be residing at Metropolitan Detention Center. Actually, maybe they can hold the resception in the Visitors Room there and let everyone buy their own food out of the vending machines.

  • I need to quote someone who died for his beliefs…NXIVM members love their stupid quotes. Today it is Ferdinand von Schill, who fought Napoleon Bonaparte: “Better an end with horror than a horror without end”.

  • Scumbag cultists….should be sent to prison for a very long time – to protect society! Prison Tattoos will go good with their “cattle brands”!
    Take that ….”pimp mack” !

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.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com