Clare Bronfman – the destroyer of people’s lives through litigation – has now been caught in the net she cast to catch others.
Bronfman was arrested last Tuesday and named in two counts of the Superseding Indictment. She is charged with participating in a Racketeering Conspiracy and with Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft.
She was not charged with sex trafficking.
In essence, Clare is named in three racketeering acts.
- She is alleged to have conspired to commit identity theft between 2005 and 2008 by breaking into her father’s computer.
- She is alleged to have encouraged, in early 2009, an alien to enter the United States illegally and committed money laundering for that purpose.
- She is alleged to have conspired to commit identity theft, between November 2016 and March 2018, by using Pam Cafritz’s credit card to pay Raniere’s expenses.
According to Bronfman’s attorney, Susan Necheles, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines if Clare was convicted of all the charged crimes would be 3 years. The judge in the case, the Hon. Nicolas G. Garaufis, has made it clear, however, that he has broad discretion in imposing sentences.
Necheles submitted to the court a bail package to permit Clare to remain out of prison while she awaits trial. The judge has agreed to it. The bail package –– makes Clare’s finances a matter of public record.
The Bail Package.
- A $100 million bond secured by $50 million in property, including:
(a) $25 million in cash or securities held in a trust account of which she is the beneficiary;
(b) Real estate owned by Clare located in the United States worth $4 million;
(c) A UCC filing against the Delaware LLC that owns the island and resort in Fiji for $13 million;
(d) Several pieces of real estate in the United States belonging to Clare’s sister, Sara, worth $8 million.
- Her mother and brother-in-law are co-signors on the bond; [Her mother Rita Georgianna Webb-Bronfman-Havers has a home which she would lose, as a surety on the bond, if Clare fled. Her brother-in-law, Abdul Basit Igtet, would lose the approximately three million dollars in assets he has if she fled].
- Restrictions on her ability to obtain money from her trust accounts except for Court-approved purposes.
- Surrender of her passport.
- Electronic monitoring and home detention until all bail conditions are satisfied, including the filing of property liens in appropriate courts.
- After satisfaction of bail conditions, travel restricted to the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; but no more house arrest.
- No contact with any co-defendant or any person who the defense is aware will be a government witness in this case outside the presence of her attorneys. Otherwise, she can speak with NXIVM members.
Necheles argued that Bronfman would have little ability to flee.
“[F]leeing would mean that Ms. Bronfman would surrender the vast majority, if not the entirety, of her wealth by fleeing. Most obviously, it would cause her to forfeit $100 million—the entirety of her net worth outside her trusts—based on the amount of the bond…. if Ms. Bronfman were to flee she would also lose her access to the two substantial trust accounts of which she is the beneficiary, which comprise the other significant part of her wealth.
“… the trust would immediately transfer $25,000,000 from the trust as a distribution to the court if Bronfman’s bail were to be revoked. Second, the trust advisors would, under no circumstances, distribute funds as discretionary distributions to a fugitive from justice, which would ruin their own professional careers and subject them to criminal liability….. Finally, fleeing would cause significant financial harm to Ms. Bronfman’s closest family members. Her mother and brother-in-law, who have both come to New York from Europe to act as sureties on the bond, would be left destitute. Similarly, Sara Bronfman , Ms. Bronfman’s sister, would lose her properties in upstate New York, her New York City apartment, and her share of a property in Sun Valley, Idaho, all of which she has agreed to post to secure Ms. Bronfman’s bond. Collectively, these properties are worth over $8 million.…”
There are two primary trusts of which Clare is the beneficiary.
Clare does not have the right to compel distributions of income or principal of either trust. The Trusts are not owned by Clare, and the assets are not accessible to Clare unless and until a Trust makes a distribution.
Both Trust 1 and Trust 2 were restructured beginning in April 2018, [right after Raniere’s arrest]. The purpose of the restructuring was, among other things, to protect and preserve the trust assets [from government seizure].
Trust 1 currently holds $65 million in assets.
The structure of Trust 1 is as follows. Clare is a discretionary beneficiary of the Trust. Goldman Sachs has custody of the funds and is the sole trustee. Goldman appointed two trust advisors to advise and direct Goldman as to whether to make distributions to Clare from the trust.
Attorney Leslie B, Geller and accountant Joseph Weilgus, are the advisors. Both Geller and Weilgus must jointly agree before a distribution is made to Clare and are authorized to withhold all distributions indefinitely.
Their discretion to make distributions to Clare from Trust 1 is limited to distributions for her health, education, maintenance, and support.
Clare does not have the power to remove Weilgus and Geller as trust advisors, nor does she have the power to remove Goldman Sachs as trustee. She has no right to compel distributions to herself or others. In other words, she lost control of her money – presumably by design so the government cannot seize it. This may seriously impact her ability to fund the legal expenses of the other NXIVM defendants and that responsibility may fall upon her sister, Sara Bronfman-Igtet.
Trust advisor Geller has affirmed to the court, “If Clare were to flee and become a fugitive from justice, under no circumstances would I agree to make a distribution from Trust 1 to Clare to fund her ability to live as a fugitive…. [I]f Clare were to flee, the entirety of the trust funds in Trust 1 would be effectively frozen and unavailable to Clare. “
Absent Clare fleeing, the only distributions the trustee will provide to Clare are for:
- Rent and utilities for her NY City apartment;
- Upkeep and maintenance on her farm in Albany;
- Upkeep and maintenance on any other personal use properties;
- Expenses for bookkeeping and accounting related to her personal finances and those of her closely held businesses;
- Legal fees and court costs;
- Medical expenses;
- Food, groceries, and clothing;
- Other reasonable and customary personal or household expenditures such as a computer, cell phone bill, laundry, household goods, housekeeper, apartment repairs and installations, etc.;
- Local transportation expenses within the area approved by the Court for her travel on a regular basis;
- Travel expenditures associated with any travel permitted by the Court outside the regularly approved travel area only upon presentation of a Court Order permitting such travel;
- Any other category of personal expenses that arises for Clare’s health, education, maintenance, and support that we consider an appropriate expenditure would only be distributed upon prior notification to Pretrial Services.
Clare’s Trust 2 currently holds $67 million in assets. The structure of Trust 2 is, or soon will be, the same as Trust 1. Weilgus and Geller pledged to the Court that no distributions will be made from Trust 2 to Clare until the conclusion of the criminal case.
Clare also has a charitable remainder Trust with $2.7 million out of which Clare gets $315,000 per year. She does not have the right to obtain more distributions from this trust.
So, my read is that Clare has the following assets:
– $65 million in Trust 1
– $67 million In Trust 2
– $2.7 million in a charitable remainder trust
– $4 million of real estate
– $13 million in Fiji island
She has some other assets which are not mentioned in the bail package.
She’s now worth about $198 million total. Not bad for someone who has inherited +/- $650 million.
She’s probably lucky that the Feds blew up NXIVM now. At the rate she’s been going, she was going to be entirely broke in about 5 years.
Viva Executive Success!