From Clare’s phantom income to astral projection and reincarnation – a few recollections from my days in NXIVM

I was talking to Joe O’Hara the other day about some of the many lies Clare Bronfman told in various litigation. Both of us concluded that she lied as good as Vanguard.

I recalled for Joe a few random episodes during my days as a consultant to the cult that would later brand women – and I would have the privilege of being the first to publicly expose.

Clare was different then than what she later became. She was not then a cruel monster, or if she was, it was neatly suppressed inside a shy, little girl facade.

I recall, one day in 2007, when Clare told me she declared on her trust fund ‘phantom’ income – interest on $65.6 million she had gifted/lent to First Principles – and was lost by Keith Raniere in commodities trading. She showed me her income and expense statement and admitted that the $230,000 she reported as interest income was actually a fiction. She said she declared it – and paid taxes on the income – in order to fool her trustees [and her father] into thinking the $65.6 million that was lost in commodities was not lost but was a smart investment, an interest-earning loan.

At the time, I thought there was nothing wrong with her over-reporting income and paying taxes on it. It was all that much more money the government would collect and spend. Years later, I suspected that when she reported phantom income and paid taxes on it, that she, or someone else, might have evaded paying much more in taxes. If the $65 million was actually a gift – or income to Raniere, Nancy Salzman or First Principles, she, or they, might have owed millions in taxes. Instead, by declaring $230,000 in ‘phantom’ interest income – ‘earned’ from a $65.6 million “loan” – she and her sister, Sara, probably paid around $50,000 in taxes.

Into the Mystic

One day, Clare told Keith she thought I had come to her in a dream and offered to show her how to fly via astral projection. Naturally, she asked Keith for advice on whether she should learn this. I don’t recall what Keith told her, or whether he merely dismissed her notion as unreal. For my own part, I don’t recall ever coming to her in a dream or wanting to.  I wrote it off as her imagination. It never came up again.

I recall taking Clare on walks in the woods near her horse farm – where I stayed – to discuss the work. I recall trying to teach her how to write and allowing her to do some research for me.  She was a willing worker and eager to learn and I liked her at the time and felt sorry for her also. She was lonely and needed approval and something to do. She did not strike me as mean, but only frightened and lost. Keith did not seem to have much time to spend with her in those days.

I came to realize that Clare was having a relationship with a foreign woman she had sponsored in the USA. Her visa was expiring.  Clare asked me to find a way to keep her in the USA. The woman came to me privately and said, “Please, don’t find a way to keep me here. I want to go home.”

There was no legal way I knew of to keep the woman here and I did sympathize with her. She was afraid to tell Clare that she did not want to stay, and was hoping that, since her visa was expiring, Clare would pay her way back home. I did not see this as coercive – no more so than any time when one lover wants to leave the other and is afraid to say so because the other one wants her desperately to stay. I told Clare quite truthfully that I knew no way for the woman to remain and that she should go back to her native country for otherwise if she stayed beyond the time her visa permitted, she might not be able to return again. Clare, a little teary-eyed, paid for the lady to go back home.


Clare Bronfman did not exhibit to me the meanness for which she later became famous.

Not Meeting a Clinton

I recall the night when Clare asked for my approval for her not to attend the Clinton Global Initiative dinner in New York City. Her sister, Sara Bronfman, and Nancy Salzman were going to attend – and they fully expected Clare to go with them. Clare and Sara, at Keith’s command, had given quite a bit of money to the Clintons. They were entitled to go. There they would meet Bill Clinton and other world leaders. Others [though probably not Keith himself, who was likely indifferent] told her she must go – that it would be important for the mission and Keith.

I asked Clare why she did not want to go.

She complained that she would have to get a new gown and wear makeup; she did not want to dress up and she wouldn’t look good anyway.

I said she could easily dress up nice if she wanted to, and that she would look fine, even pretty.

She said she did not want to dress up nice. She preferred wearing jeans and knew she could not go in jeans.

I quoted Thoreau, “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.

“Then I don’t have to go?”

“No, you don’t have to go, if you don’t want to.”

“If you think I don’t have to go, then I’ll tell Nancy and Sara that you said I don’t have to go and then they won’t push me. You’re quite sure I don’t have to go?”

“No one will even notice if you’re there or not. Your sister will be there and representing the Bronfmans. All you need is one Bronfman; you don’t need two.”

She was almost in tears, when she thanked me, relieved she did not have to worry about wearing a dress, or makeup, or meeting people she was not at all interested in meeting and probably frightened about meeting as well.

My Past Life Revealed?

A certain High-Rank NXIVM member – pleased by how much Keith was pleased with my work – told me she had learned [I suspect from Keith] that I was, in my past life, an ancient Cambodian king who ruled, I believe, in Angkor.

I forgot the name of the king and, as I recall, I was told – somewhat breathlessly by this NXIVM High-Rank lady  – that in my former life  – my former fate as a Cambodian king – was nothing less than to die nobly and successfully defending Keith who was also a king in a previous life. I fail to recall what king Keith was and where he ruled  – perhaps it was India.

I did not think much of the notion at the time. I told the lady that this was very interesting, but I knew nothing about being a Cambodian king and did not recollect ever having been one. Then I forgot all about it. Within a few days, I was off to Los Angeles to look into a real estate development Keith was guiding for the Bronfmans and I don’t recall my Cambodian kingship ever came up again.

The ruins of Angkor – was I there?  A NXIVM lady told me I was once a Cambodian king who died valiantly fighting to protect Keith, who was a king himself – of another land – in our past lives.

Despite the apparent weirdness of these and other events, I did not think these were bad people. I thought they were kooky but nice. And so long as they did not hurt others, they had every right to live their lives without being tarred and feathered by a hostile media and labeled as a cult.

At the time, I did not see any “nefarious” activities. At the time, while I did not want to be like them – I liked them and was willing to be paid, albeit handsomely, to defend their right to be different.

And so I did.



About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • This would also seem to explain why Clare has such a “hard on” for destroying Frank.

    Yet another father figure who disappointed her.

  • How do you know that Executive Success Program was intentionally named to use the initials ESP? How could you possibly have that information? You didn’t even belong to this group. Why do you presume to know more than people who were actual members?

    • I assume your comment posted out of order and you’re addressing my comment. ?

      Though my sister was unfortunately far more involved, I was also there when ESP was under development for years prior to becoming incorporated. (Though I’m tempted to joke and say I have ESP, that’s how I know. 😆.). “She who has the most Joys wins,” was my slogan stolen by KAR. It’s “Man is that he might have Joy,” from the Bible combined with an old bumper sticker saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”

      I don’t pretend at all to know more than anyone, no matter what their role or not in ESP/NXIVM/etc. I hope to encourage those who do know far more than I to share as opposed to some of the lunatics on here who seem to think they somehow look like they know something when they’re taking such pains to shoot down anyone who really might. In the case of most of these loonies, EVERYONE ELSE commenting either knows more than they do or is smart enough to avoid drawing attention to the plain fact that they don’t and can only attack…right down to the heels of the DOJ prosecution team!

      • But that doesn’t explain anything. If you were never a member, how would you be privy to that sort of information? Keith even made people sign agreements to not discuss course material before they were allowed to take the classes. It doesn’t sound like he was the kind of guy who was freely discussing his plans and ideas with non-members.

        • The fact that her SISTER was involved and SHE WAS THERE AT THE INCEPTION OF ESP doesn’t explain anything?

          Do you live in Narnia?

        • Dear Frank, Do you think you could help astrally project a few of my colleagues away from our current OFSTED inspection? It would be a great help. I’ll expect you around 1:30 am GMT, in my dreams.

  • Everyone who believes in reincarnation always seemed to have been someone extraordinary in past lives. Has any one of them ever been a lowly peasant or slave?

  • I like reading stuff like this since it helps to give us a picture of the people behind NXIVM.

    Clare sounds like a shape-shifter at heart, lacking confidence and looking for the approval of others (or at least looking to appease them when possible).

    Her current mean spirited personality sounds like it’s just a reflection of what Keith molded her into.

    I honestly think Clare could be easily saved and turned into a nicer person if Keith was gone.

    Keith gives her a reason to hate the world. He gives her a need to settle scores against perceived wrongs, but without his negative leadership her heart would probably thaw a bit.

  • Clare is our wonderful queen and this reminiscence sounds tedious. Who cares what a monster like Frank sees thinks or does? #ClareofHearts

    • Pea you obviously care what Frank thinks, you also care what the public writes on here. Why else would you be constantly scanning for new info?

  • Good to see Frank open up about his personal experiences with certain NXIANS and admit those weren’t always all that bad. Nor were many of the NXIANS themselves to begin with until Vanguard messed with their minds and beliefs.

    I, frankly, enjoyed all the ESP (and the double entendre with Extra Sensory Perception and Executive Success Programs was intended) new-age mysticism hocus pocus — past life regressions and astral projections — with my sister Gina and her BFF Kristin Keefe. (Not so much when Raniere was around — always thought he had rape at heart and so made it a point never to be caught alone with him after a few attempts on his part.)

    Even went with them a time or two to monasteries and Ashrams for the vibes. Read Tarot cards, had some flying dreams I fancied may have been out of body experiences, etc.

    But, like everything, Keith corrupted and twisted such innocent, girlish flights of fancy into a sordid, self-serving, grim reality.

    The past life “disintegration’s” were Keith’s unique, sinister twist on karma atonement. Not only did the slaves have to work off the bad, past life karma by serving Keith however he deemed necessary but if they ever failed him in his Vanguard mission as Earth’s only integrated being in this life, they would surely “disintegrate” and become one of the most despised characters in human history such as Adolf Hitler.

    Past lives work well as a guilt, fear or manipulation tool in part due to versatility — Keith could assign more than one past life to anyone and add his own past life or add one to another NXIAN’s to juxtapose, manipulate their relationships.

    Frank may have been a Cambodian King for this mystery Lady but had he been permitted to stay around long enough there are plenty unclaimed Nazi tormentors Frank could have been accused of being the moment he disobeyed Keith.

    • Heidi, you say you thought Keith was a rapist, and that he had attempted to rape you on more than one occasion. Knowing that, you never reported him to police? You knew he would attempt other woman, and that your sister was involved with him, but you did nothing to stop him? Do other readers also think there is something very wrong with this story?

  • It is refreshing to see something sympathetic to Clare. She is really a sweet woman. Keith was the bad one

  • These Nxivm women, some of them anyway remind me of drug addicts. They say in treatment that you stay stuck at the age you start using. When they became involved in nxivm these women were primarily in their early 20s which by today’s standards is even younger. It’s like they never finished growing up.
    So many of them became mean girls and why would you get involved in illegal activities when you had no need of the money or bringing in girls illegally from Mexico? Mexico had it’s own Nxivm centers. So much of what they did makes no sense to me.

  • What do you think that all means, Frank? Clare sounded like a very gentle person back when you first met her, and later she apparently became very cruel and vindictive. It’s unusual for a leopard to change it’s spots. Do you think that you originally misjudged her, or that Keith’s brainwashing tactics made her change so drastically?

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


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