Has the Plea Deal Bus made its last stop? – Part I

The bus is small on this ride

On Tuesday, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis approved Nancy Salzman’s request to be allowed out of her home for a limited period of time three times per week “…for exercise, and shopping for food and other necessities”: i.e., twice for 90 minutes each – and once for 120 minutes. The request had been submitted last Friday by Robert Soloway, one of her attorneys.

There are two ways of looking at this newest development in Nancy’s case.

On the one hand, it may be that the judge is simply giving Nancy the same accommodation that he had already granted to Clare Bronfman, one of her co-defendants in the case.

On the other hand, it may be yet another indication that Nancy has already entered into some sort of plea deal – or is close to doing just that.

This is a slide from Vanguard Week.  Now, the best way for Nancy Salzman to help people is for her to testify against Keith Raniere – which, by the way, is also the best way for her to help herself and her daughters.

Another recent indication that Nancy has moved from the Stripe Path to the Save-My-Ass Path is the fact that she also agreed to allow the prosecution to turn over forensic copies of the various electronic devices that were seized by the FBI last March from her then-home immediately after Keith Raniere was arrested by federal officials.

Had she not done that, it’s quite possible that the prosecution would not have been able to meet the established deadline for turning over copies of all the materials it may use at trial – which means that it would have forfeited its right to use those materials as evidence.

So, assuming that Nancy is now safely ensconced on the Plea Deal Bus, the question arises as to who else, if anyone, might also get a seat on it.

Let’s look at some of the possibilities with respect to Nancy’s current co-defendants…

Keith Raniere– no deal in sight for him.

Keith Raniere: The odds of Vanguard getting a seat are about the same as Buffalo not getting any snow this winter. To begin with, he’s the “highest-value target” in this case – and, thus, is not someone the prosecution is likely going to allow to get any type of reduced sentence via a plea deal. The most they’ll do is allow him to plead guilty to all charges and take whatever sentence the judge hands down – which would likely be a minimum of 20 years.


Allison Mack – high headline value

Allison Mack: Given all the evidence that the prosecution has already accumulated against Allison – and all the witnesses it has already lined up to testify against her – it’s also extremely unlikely that it will accept any type of reduced-sentenced plea deal from her. Her only chance was to cut such a deal right after she was arrested – and she stupidly failed to do that. She’s also a “high-value target” in this case.

Clare Bronfman – plenty of assets to seize

Clare Bronfman: Because she financed – and served as Director of Operations for – the entire NXIVM criminal enterprise, it’s also extremely unlikely that Clare is going to get any type of reduced-sentence plea deal. About her only hope would be to entirely flip on Raniere – which, at this stage, she does not appear to be ready to do. She’s also a “high-value target” in this case.

Lauren Salzman – what can Mama do to get her out  [since Mama got her in]?
Lauren Salzman: Because most of the information that Lauren might provide can also be provided by others, she’s probably going to need her Mom to buy her a ticket on the bus. But, given that she’s not a “high-value target”, the prosecution might be willing to take a reduced-sentence plea deal from Lauren if Nancy makes that part of her deal. So, Lauren may get a seat on the Plea Deal Bus, but she’ll have to sit in Nancy’s lap.

Hapless Kathy Russell – what’s she got to offer?

Kathy Russell: The “bad news” for Kathy is that all she likely has to trade is information about NXIVM’s various financial-related crimes. The “good news” is that she’s definitely not a “high-value target” – and, therefore, is not someone that the prosecution has all that much interest in. She’s also so pathetic that the prosecution might actually be willing to give her a minimum-sentence plea deal if she can help them sort out the myriad of shell companies that Raniere and Clare had set up – and verify all the money that was funneled across the borders from Canada and Mexico. The biggest problem for Kathy is that she likely still believes in the NXIVM “mission” – and has yet to comprehend the seriousness of the situation she’s in.

To sum up, it looks like Nancy has secured a seat on the Plea Deal Bus – and that she may be able to get Lauren on as well. Other than those two, the only other member of the current group of defendants who has any chance of getting a reduced-sentence plea deal is Kathy Russell.

So, that takes care of all the current defendants in the case. In a future post, we’ll take a look at some of the yet-to-be indicted members of the NXIVM cult and some of its non-member aiders-and-abettors.

About the author

K.R. Claviger


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  • ATTENTION INTER-GALACTIC INTERNET CLEAN UP CREW: The entity known as “Scott Johnson”, aka “Scooter”, aka “Scotty Potty” has polluted this forum with meaningless blather, after having escaped from his multi-level containment cell in the 5th Density. Please immediately clean up the mess he has created in this corner of the quadrant.

  • With all the money Lauren & Nancy were skimming off the money laundering, why didn’t Lauren get her nose fixed?

    • She’s always liked her nose. Connects her to her estranged big nosed daddy whom she says left her looking for a daddy figure in vanguard. Not true. The Loshin-Salzman women threw him to the curb with a yawn when he tried to protect his progeny. He’s a decent man – prefect always wanted to marry a doctor until he got too boring. He was too normal

  • There’s So much info we haven’t heard yet. Every postponement bought more time to gather charges, now if Nancy really has handed over the keys the real story from the last few years as Nxivm evil grew and changed will be coming out. By the way idiot Lauren isn’t getting a free pass. This is the feds not the Albany pd. They don’t hand anything out for free . They didn’t need to they already had proof. Getting Nancy would be a great win but no guarantee for freedom.

    • Sorry Heather, you’re simply wrong this time. And I’m right. 🙂

      Nancy is the HEART of the government’s case. She can corroborate tons of documentary evidence that others cannot.

      She can also tell them about crimes where documents may not exist.

      Nancy practically RAN the organization for Keith for many years.

      Without Nancy the case would be MUCH weaker and smaller. Don’t kid yourself Heather. If that weren’t true then Nancy wouldn’t have been given a plea deal. She’s a major player and if they had enough to convict everybody easily without her, she would have been a defendant rather than a cooperating witness.

      Lauren therefore WILL get a free pass. She’s Nancy’s youngin. She’s the baby bear being protected by the mama bear. She’ll either walk free or get a token 6 month sentence in a low security work camp without bars. Deal with it Heather, I’m simply right about this. 🙂

      Don’t be retarded. Just get on board and support Lauren. 🙂

      • I fully agree Nancy is it right now, I guess it depends on what the feds plea Lauren down to. I am not always right but I’ve been close to a federal case . If they can plea her out great. But Nancy is out for Nancy too. This is not mother if the year.

  • Frank, how dare you assume — even for a second — that Lauren Salzman could possibly not be getting a plea deal IF her mama bear has already agreed to it.

    Nancy would NEVER agree to a plea if her lovely youngin Lauren was not covered by a plea deal too.

    That’s just common sense Frank. It’s not a possibility. It’s guaranteed.

    To assume otherwise would mean that you’re a fucken retard, Frank. Are you that? If not, then stop making dumb assumptions.

    Lauren is covered too.

    As an aside, Lauren is going to walk free without any time at all. At most she’ll get 6 months in a work camp.

    If Albany Defense Attorney with Big Ears disagrees, he’s just not being very realistic since Lauren would only be facing 3 years anyway if convicted at trial, according to sentencing guidelines.

    If Sammy The Bull can get a plea deal for just 5 years in prison after committing a dozen MURDERS (a reduction of hundreds of years in prison time) then Lauren can walk free for these relatively light charges, or at most get 6 months in a work camp.

    Michelle and Ben will not be charged and will be free to raise their own family of junior computer hackers, and everybody will be happy.

  • This is a fairly accurate run down of who gets a seat on the plea deal bus.

    The high profile, high value defendants — Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman and Allison Mack — had their plea deal buses leave the Port Authority Bus Terminal empty a long time ago.

    Nancy Salzman clearly has a seat on the bus.
    With a little luck her daughter Lauren Salzman might be able to claim a seat on the plea deal bus.
    I would hope that Kathy Russell, who was a mere factotum and merely signed documents to make them official, could find it to flip for her own sake.
    Perhaps Karen Unterreiner has already secretly flipped.

  • ” Pornography. This is capital in most prison environments. Having a network that will provide a steady stream of nude photos from NXIVM followers would enhance his value with other convicts. If they are able to get photos of nude celebrities that are unique and not generally available, there would be a lot of demand”

    So true. And there are
    a couple of pervs here on FR that start with the letter S, that would kill to be in that prison just to see ole Kristy and Ally photos

  • This story is incredibly interesting but I’ve got to say that the humorous reporting seals the deal. Its the hook that keeps me meandering back to the Frank Report for updates. I suppose the honest, straight-forward reporting does as well. Its rare these days.

    Save-My-Ass Path! LOL! Thanks for a nice belly laugh!

  • I’m still convinced the odds of Raniere being convicted are slim. Either his counsel will find a way to fend off the charges or he will off himself.

    But something interesting to think about the consequences to Raniere should others decide to take plea deals. It’s arguable that the best possible outcome for him is to have his organization intact while he serves time. There’s a case to be made that his interests are best served by having others face the least amount of time possible, especially if the government has him dead to rights.

    Federal Prison would be very challenging for someone like Raniere. He’s used to being surrounded by people who trust him, share their emotions, and engage in social power dynamics based on appeals to ‘ethics’ or self-improvement. In prison, people with these qualities find themselves very vulnerable. The environment is always structured around martial prowess and in-group dynamics. Convicts are hostile to anyone who is too open or willing to show allegiance to another person without a material reason. It’s likely he would be instantly rejected by people he tries to connect with – even of his own race – just based on his mannerisms and observable tendencies.

    So it’s fair to assume he would have low social worth in a prison environment. The question becomes what does he have to offer that would enhance his personal capital. With someone like Raniere, convicts are going to be looking at what they can get out of him, and how to get it. He’s a little older, so he’s would not have much worth as a sissy. But he does have this compelling life story, having lead an organization that let him sleep with actresses and enjoy the fortunes of people with high net-worth. That carries a kind of weight in prison, where others will be looking to exploit those outside connections through the constraints of the system. Convicts mostly, but possibly guards. To the extent he can deliver on the needs of others, Raniere has a chance of being a little more comfortable than he would left on his own.

    Raniere’s position in NXIVM would be seen as an opportunity for those around him. There’s three areas that would make the most sense for others to exploit:

    – Money. Hearing that he has a high-powered defense counsel and claims no assets is code for ‘my money is stashed and no one can touch it.’ Word will get around and convicts will be looking to extract as much cash as possible from Raniere in the form of protection and comforts.

    – Trafficking. If NXIVM is intact and Raniere has any influence over it’s members, prison gangs would seek to use his network for moving around people and goods outside of prison. While it’s not likely, I could see NXIVM members being converted to human and drug traffickers as a result of their leader being put to work by prison gangs.

    – Pornography. This is capital in most prison environments. Having a network that will provide a steady stream of nude photos from NXIVM followers would enhance his value with other convicts. If they are able to get photos of nude celebrities that are unique and not generally available, there would be a lot of demand.

    From this standpoint, of having something to offer so he’s not completely isolated, Raniere’s best possible strategy may be for others to flip on him. The goal would be to reduce their jail time as a means of fortifying his existing network to support him while serving time. This would be true for Raniere as well as any of the financiers currently facing charges, having trusted lieutenants to ensure loyalty in the organization would be something desirable for anyone facing the uncertainty that comes with hard time.

    I suspect there are others who are considering the long-term value of a network, maybe for other reasons, and there may be a coordinated strategy around plea deals that will become apparent when the government turns over it’s discovery. It’s important to understand, with multiple defendants acting in unison, pleas can become more strategic than they would if everyone was charged individually. Until we know the strength of the government’s case, we won’t know where everyone’s interests lie. But more than likely Raniere will be looking to preserve loyalty if he finds out he’s facing a long stretch, and will likely act in a manner designed to preserve it.

    • You forgot to Mention how pedophiles and rapist are treated in prison and the low value they have. As for providing nude photos of celebrities, um I think the Feds have those.

      • Yeah, Vantard lost his women, AND his “spank bank” of pictures. Poor Vantard. maybe he can snuggle up to Big Rocko if he knows how to catch…

    • Nearly all of the field employees at my business are convicted felons who’ve served lengthy sentences for serious crimes – mostly in the service of the cartels or street gangs. I feel like I’ve got a good practical understanding of the prisoner mindset. I’m not a psychologist or anything, but I’ve figured out how to earn the loyalty and respect of some really hardened individuals. In return my business partners and I have helped them adapt to post prison life and succeed in ways that most of their fellow felons have not. Its part of the social contract we’ve got going, I guess.

      If Raniere can adapt and understand the prisoner mindset, he’ll do just fine in prison, but he’s going to have to figure that out immediately after his sentencing. If he carries on with his current persona he’ll be eaten alive in prison. If he’s to stupid or to set in his ways, he won’t succeed.

      He won’t be able to capitalize on his network because nobody will trust him. He’ll need to figure that out right away. He also won’t be able to capitalize on his connection wealthy friends outside of prison. If he tries that he’ll just get used and abused by the others to maximize the amount of money they can squeeze out of him.

      His top priority should be to earn the respect of his fellow prisoners. If he plays those cards right then he’ll be able to use his access to wealth and his connections to his advantage. If he’s a whiny, soft, little bitch like he’s been so far, its not going to go well for him. If he presents himself as a mysterious alpha male who has banged television stars and works that angle well, he’ll become a prison legend. His story is his pathway to respect. He’ll have to drip it out slowly over time, make them work to get it out of him, never stretch the stories to much because they can smell bullshit from a mile away, and never cry in his cell or fake health emergencies.

      Among hardened criminals, how you carry yourself is all that matters, especially when you first meet. I’ve witnessed it many times. Its a subtle peacock show that goes on until respect and trust is built, then people can relax a little.

      • Very good points and thank you for supporting ex-cons. Life is tough post-incarceration and seeing past someone’s mistakes in your business takes courage. People who can make that work are wonderful human beings.

        Count me in the camp that believes Raniere has no way to adapt. This goes beyond mentality. He’s not going to get a pass for pedophilia and human trafficking. The fact he did that while sleeping with celebrities will drive people nuts. The attention he’s going to get will not be positive.

        Ask your fellows about bleeding. Even if he’s in supermax people will want a taste. Raniere is not headed for Pensacola, he’s going to need to prove himself some other way.

  • Wondering why India was named as CC-2 and not someone like Lauren or Nancy, especially since she hasn’t been arrested. Was it based on which women originally were willing to work with the authorities? Although since one of them was Sarah, wouldn’t Lauren have been the more likely one to name since she was the one who got Sarah into DOS and “held” her collateral?

    Also do you know if Mark V and Sarah E are in the clear and do you know if Clare filed suit against anyone else recently besides Frank?

    • Why on earth have you picked this platform to try an revive your failed stand-up comedy career? Didn’t you learn that you aren’t funny the first time around?

    • Oh Pea,

      You are so funny

      It’s the bus to hell for Keith Raniere honey. Anyone who gets on it to testify against your Vandodo is making the smartest decision they habe in decades.

    • Pea:
      There are many different Circles of Hell.
      Some of them are very high up like Limbo.
      Others are deep, deep down.
      The 7th 8th and 9th Circles of Hell are:
      Keith, Claire and Allison will occupy the 7th, 8th and 9th Circles of Hell.
      Pea, you ought to read less Ayn Rand and Vladimir Nabokov and more Dante.

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
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com