Joe O’Hara: Asleep At The Switch – How local officials allowed NXIVM to grow into an international crime syndicate

Joe O'Hara was spied on by NXIVM, but the spies they hired were so incompetent that they provided phony bank statements.

By Joseph O’Hara

Since several recent commenters have raised questions about the lawsuit that I brought against Keith Raniere and a bunch of others associated with the NXIVM/ESP cult back in February 2012, I thought it might be worthwhile to have the original Complaint posted here so that readers could see just how much of the cult’s criminal enterprise had been uncovered more than six years ago.

That lawsuit represented the collective work of a small group of people who understood just how dangerous Raniere and his followers had become – and its underlying purpose was to spur local law enforcement authorities in the Albany, NY area to do something to stop them before they did even more harm.

That, of course, didn’t happen because many of those local law enforcement authorities had been bought off or scared off by the cult and the financial resources provided to it by Clare and Sara Bronfman. Indeed, it was not until another five years had passed that Frank Parlato was able to get law enforcement officials to begin investigating what had, by then, grown into a full-fledged international crime syndicate.

And even then, it was a group of law enforcement officials who were more than a hundred miles away from the scene of most of the crimes who began investigating Raniere and his followers – and who are in the process of bringing them to justice!

To this day, not one charge has ever been brought in Albany County or Saratoga County against Raniere or any of his followers. Nor has any New York State governmental agency ever disciplined any member of NXIVM.

Whether those law enforcement and government officials who did nothing – and those who actively aided and abetted the Raniere/Bronfman criminal enterprise – will ever be brought to justice is doubtful. But people should never forget that the NXIVM crime syndicate could have – and should have – been stopped a lot sooner than it was.

About the author

Frank Parlato


Click here to post a comment

  • “Whether those law enforcement and government officials who did nothing…..will ever be brought to justice is doubtful.”

    Do you know is there any effort at all to investigate these officials?

  • Joe – Did you try to get Frank to come forward 6 years ago with what he knew about sex slaver Keith and his criminal enterprise since Frank himself had been hired to destroy NXIVM’s detractors?

    • Frank reached out to me shortly after he left NXIVM – and apologized for the small role he had played in NXIVM’s numerous legal attacks on me. Since that time, we have shared information and worked together – and with others – to expose the full scope of the criminality of NXIVM, Raniere, et al. Ancient Proverb: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

      • Wow- so you are saying Frank knew since 2008. So from 2008 to late 2015, Frank stayed silent about what he knew about NXIVM and has lied when he claims he”turned on an instant” against them. He stayed silent during your lawsuit in 2012 and after the Times Union series in 2012 when he could have publicly backed up. you, the Union and Odata in ArtVoice or the Niagara Falls Reporter which he bought in April 2012. Instead he chose to stay silent, maybe hoping someone else would take down NXIVM and the 15 shell companies and 50 bank accounts he is accused of using to hide that million dollar s he got from NXIVM would remain hidden from the IRS. Frank seems to enjoy calling other people liars, cowards, and hypocrites, seems he could be describing himself.

        • My narcissistic ex used to start throwing all kinds of accusations and blame around when he got caught in a lie or was confronted with something wrong that he had done. Didn’t work to distract me then – won’t work on the DOJ. If Frank has a bill to pay in all of this, it will eventually come due. Right now there are a lot bigger and smellier fish to fry. Glass houses… glass houses…

        • There were lots of things going on behind the scenes in terms of trying to take down the Raniere/Bronfman crime syndicate for several years. Much of that involved turning over documents and information to various law enforcement officials – all of whom promised to “look into things” and none of whom did anything. And the crime syndicate wasn’t sitting on its hands either as it continued to file civil lawsuits and criminal complaints against many of its perceived enemies all throughout the period from 2005-2015.

          Despite enormous efforts by a lot of people, the simple reality is that no one in authority was willing to do anything to stop Raniere and the Bronfmans for more than a decade. It was only when Frank broke the story about the brandings that anyone in law enforcement actually did something (Kudos to Catherine Oxenberg for being willing to go public with that story).

          Had Frank not persisted in exposing the brandings and the other sordid things that Raniere and his followers were doing, the New York Times would never have written a word about NXIVM. It’s really that simple.

          • Think it had more to do with Sarah Edmondson finally waking up and the NY Times story that got the people in authority off their asses. Frank was just the unfortunate bloke who happened to be writing about NXIVM at the time. If Sarah had gotten branded in 2013, Tighe would have been the one who got to “break” the story.

        • It speaks volumes about Frank that he posted your derogatory comment about him here on his site, though your facts are entirely off base. Frank, in fact, advised Keith to desist with the vengeful indictments and lawsuits despite Keith’s insistence that his “enemies” were guilty as framed. Keith, you see, needed scapegoats such as Joe to persist with his Bronfman (etc.) heists but Frank understood the meaning of the wise adage; “Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword.” …Touché!

        • Wow – so you’re saying in the midst of the Raniere/Bronfman scandal, you’ve st-stumbled across another deeper scandal involving Frank?!! – and someone out there with the brains of a rocking horse might believe you?!!

          • From the Lockport Union Sun and Journal May 23, 2018: “That indictment, and the new indictment, charge Parlato and Selvaraj with orchestrating a scheme to defraud the IRS through the use of a dizzying array of limited liability corporations and partnerships. The indictment catalogs the use of more than 15 so-called shell companies, 50 bank accounts and multiple attorney trust accounts in perpetrating the scheme.”

            The Niagara Gazette 12/27/17 said “The government’s criminal complaint also claims that Parlato failed to disclose the $1 million in income on a 2008 federal income tax return. In 2013, after the federal grand jury investigation was underway, Parlato filed a 2008 income tax return, but claimed the $1 million payment from the Bronfmans was a “loan.”

      • I have been a spectator of the NXIVM enterprise for a long time.

        O’Hara was an early consultant to NXIVM, who discovered illegal tactics were being used to attack their percieved enemies, protested, left, then was attacked legally amd illegally himself.

        Parlato was a later consultant to NXIVM. He was told (lied to) that O’Hara had defrauded NXIVM and was criminal, and he participated in a small way with NXIVM’s persecution of O’Hara. Despite Parlato succeeding in recovering tens of millions for the Bronfman sisters that Raniere had stupidly advised them to invest in an incompetent to criminal real estate scheme in Los Angeles, he was fired, then attacked legally, because he was investigating if Raniere himself had defrauded the Bronfmans of a much larger amount in a commodities futures scheme..

        It reflects well on Parlato that he apologized to O’Hara. He had nothing to gain from doing so, except that it was the ethical thing to do.

        Amusingly, Raniere’s attacks on O’Hara, Parlato, and I think even Toni Natalie, had similar modus operandi: make an attractive loan to an employee, with no paperwork “because we trust each other,” then later bring charges for embezzlement, fraud, or theft of the loan amount.

        • I do recall Keith teaching that partnerships and business agreements with Nxium/ESP did not require written contracts because they were being conducted between ethical people.
          This was another red flag, since it was in direct contradiction to requiring a confidentiality agreement be signed before starting a course of study. A copy of that signed agreement was never given to the student
          Just another pack of lies from the self proclaimed ethical genius, concert pianist, champion runner and world’s top problem solver.

          Keith has not succeeded in solving his latest problem HOW TO GET OUT OF JAIL!!! WHO HAS THE MOST JOY NOW???

          • Hahaha! Well said. It goes to show the dangers of pretending you’re smart when you’re not. You overlook things…

          • Is that technically, you can’t possibly be ethical prior to attending an intensive. Therefore, ethical people do not exist outside of NXIVM.

            That is why everybody has to sign a non-disclosure agreement. You aren’t technically ethical until you have completed a full intensive, and not just a 5 day, either.

            If you complete a 5 day and don’t go on, then you clearly aren’t ethical, because if you are ethical you would have paid more and kept going, so thank God they forced you to sign that non-disclosure.

        • The entire 16 day intensive and modules were simply about Keith and who he is. Parasitic, sound a little like Keith? Suppressive, untrustworthy, reminds me of Keith.
          I suggest he hire the first or second place world problem solver to help him solve his most pressing problem HOW TO GET OUT OF JAIL!

        • Please get your facts straight. First, there was no criminal real estate scam!! Believe me, Clare B. tried very hard to have criminal charges brought to no avail. Second, Frank did not recover tens of millions for the Bronfman sisters. Frank was accompanied by none other than Jim Del Negro and two others who I will not name when he made his trip to Los Angeles as an emissary of the Bronfman sisters. The judgment awarded to the Bronfmans didn’t even cover the attorneys’ fees they expended to get it. Third, Parlato was paid 1 million to fabricate a case against the Bronfmans’ real estate development partners so that they could take control of the venture and screw their partners out of their fair share. Parlato is not innocent. He was paid handsomely by NXIVM to do their bidding, knowing that he was ruining innocent people’s lives in the process. It was only when his head was on the chopping block that he decided to do the right thing and expose NXIVM, Raniere and the Bronfmans for the criminals they are.

  • Instead of focusing on the hapless actress Kristen Kreuk who took seven years to figure out something was wrong with NXIVM, we should focus out ire on the public officials in Albany and Saratoga counties as well as the State of New York.
    If it were up to these local officials NXIVM would still be running strong.

    In many localities around the country it falls to the Federal government to clean up corruption.

    • Somebody somewhere knows what they got on David Soares… The problem is that the “system” will do whatever it takes to protect him since it would screw up every single conviction under his administration.

      • One of the whole points of the ESP/NXIVM structure was to have hundreds of young women convinced that Raniere was their hyper-intelligent and hyper-ethical mentor and savior.

        The obvious thing for Raniere to do was to arrange for young attractive female followers to seduce local law enforcement, prosecutors, etc in locations like hotel rooms with video recording set up. The young women would believe that the seduction was to protect their mentor from the unethical outside world, somit was the ethical thing to do.

        Now Raniere has sex-tapes of all the local law enforcement apparatus. If they go after him, he destroys their personal lives.

        It is noteworthy that the Eastern District of NY federal DOJ is the first to go after Raniere. Not local, country, NY State, or Western District NY federal. And the prosecution team is women….

        • Your hypothesis DOES have some factual basis. While working with the Albany DA and FBI NY Northern District to indict whistle blowers, Kristen Keeffe was often mockingly refered to as a “Federal Blowjob Informant” due to the outrageously sexy outfits she donned for “work.” She recruited other agent provocateurs for the cult with exactly the plan you describe in mind.

          • Around 2003, when Rick Ross was brought in by the Sutton family to extract their son from NXIVM, and he got and published snippets from their course materials, there was a NXIVM plot to hire Ross to de-program the “daughter” (NXIVM insider Kristen Keeffe) of a “concerned parent” (another NXIVM member) on a cruise ship. Kristen was quoted later as saying that they were going to “convert” Rick Ross into supporting NXIVM. Ross told the “concerned parent” that it was his policy (for legal defense reasons) to never be alone with a de-programming subject, and the “concerned parent” vanished, and the “de-programming” never took place.

            This is consistent with NXIVM planning to use Kristin Keeffe for a “honey pot” to compromise Rick Ross, to neutralize him via sex-tapes in a cruise-ship stateroom.

    • Joe,
      I hope you don’t mind if I ask a couple of questions.
      First, how was your lawsuit resolved? I can’t remember, and it doesnt say here.

      Second, as a lawyer, how often have you seen law enforcement get involved in an investigation because of a civil case?
      When I asked RCMP to look into something odd (a person who had contacted me with a bizarre harassment story that they had posted on SM sites, and claims that I was now targeted as well)…. the police said that while there was probably criminal activity occurring, they did not have the resources to investigate.

      They said they would only investigate if these individuals had threatened me using their real names…….as if the majority of criminals would ever be that dumb!
      Perhaps the NY Police operate similarly to Vancouver RCMP. Sadly, it seems that police are only interested in going after easy-to-solve crimes.. the reality is not the way they are portrayed on TV and in movies.

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


Discover more from Frank Report

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading