Lauren Salzman, through her attorney, Hector Diaz, filed a motion to dismiss two of her alleged racketeering acts.
Here is a simple explanation of the charges and what her attorney argues is the reason that two racketeering acts in the indictment should be dismissed.
In the Superseding Indictment, the government alleges that Lauren Salzman:
- Engaged in a forced labor conspiracy in order to obtain the labor and services of “lower-ranking DOS members” (Count Two: Forced Labor Conspiracy)
- Falsely induced lower ranking DOS members to provide their collateral when she failed to provide these members with all of the material facts surrounding DOS (Count Three: Wire Fraud Conspiracy).
- With Keith Raniere, committed forced labor and document servitude in connection with (Jane Doe 4), who was confined to a room for 18 months as punishment and denied her immigration documents. [Racketeering Act Six].
- With Raniere and Allison Mack, stole property by extortion by instilling in “lower-ranking DOS members” a fear that if such property was not delivered, Lauren and her DOS co-conspirators, would expose sensitive information [collateral] about them. [Racketeering Act Seven].
- Violated: (A) the federal forced labor provision and committed (B) state law extortion against Jane Doe 6 [Racketeering Act Nine].
Her motion seeks to dismiss the last two listed above [4&5]: i.e., Racketeering Act Seven and Racketeering Act Nine.
They both pertain to her alleged involvement in DOS.
Lauren’s attorney writes “The government’s prosecutorial discretion was blinded by lurid tales of ‘master-slave’ relationships, unconventional lifestyles, and allegations of forced labor and sexual misconduct; which resulted in a superseding indictment that is devoid of sufficient factual particularity.”
In the motion, we learn quite a bit about Lauren. According to her lawyer:
- In 1998, Lauren obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY-Oswego.
- Thereafter, the “quest for human reflection and an appreciation of conscious awareness” led her to join her mother, Nancy Salzman, and Keith Raniere at Executive Success Programs.
- In 1998, she began a two-year internship at ESP.
- She assisted her mother, Nancy Salzman, in codifying the basic ESP curriculum.
- She learned to teach the curriculum to individuals and groups.
- Upon completion of her internship, Lauren became an independent contractor for ESP in a teaching capacity.
- ESP provided Lauren with “purpose and direction previously missing from her life.”
- She was appointed to serve as the Director of Education, a position she held within ESP for almost twenty years.
- Lauren established proficiency standards and created tools to measure staff performance and the effectiveness of the ESP education model.
- She was responsible for training and evaluating the teaching staff – which spanned six countries.
- Lauren taught high-level executive and VIP trainings to members of multiple foreign presidential families, the New York State Department of Health executive staff, and. employees of multi-million dollar corporations in the United States and Mexico.
- The “ESP community of approximately 17,000 members furthered Lauren’s efforts to be part of a global initiative focused on the never-ending quest to achieve the highest human potential.”
- Lauren “excelled within the ESP community and helped numerous other individuals who were questioning their life circumstances and personal struggles,”
- Lauren has “dedicated the last 20 years of her professional life to promoting the personal development and emotional well-being of others.”
According to her attorney, Lauren joined DOS in 2017. Her attorney writes,
- Lauren “yearned for more personal growth and understanding regarding the place of women in today’s society. Whether it was a woman’s ability to hold her commitment or endure a difficult situation.”
- Lauren “embraced the ideal of empowering women through community and comradery.”
- Lauren’s “passion and her commitment to this ideal” led her to join DOS – in January 2017 — two years after DOS was formed in 2015.
- DOS is a group of women dedicated to the principle of “eradicating weaknesses in its members” and the empowerment of women.
- Membership in DOS was “purely voluntarily”.
- Lauren never threatened any “DOS members into doing anything that they would not have otherwise embraced as part of their membership in DOS.”
- Lauren was a member of DOS for approximately four and one-half months.
- The government has not accused Lauren of threatening any DOS members with the actual release of collateral in order to have them perform labor and services.
- The government has not alleged Lauren committed any sex trafficking offenses.
- DOS members were aware that DOS was not a traditional personal growth group, but an intensive and radical approach to addressing issues “inherent in self-victimization and weakness borne out of traditional female roles in society.”
In her motion to dismiss, her attorney focuses solely on Racketeering Act Seven and Racketeering Act Nine.
Racketeering Act Seven applies to not only to Lauren, but to Raniere and Allison Mack. In it, the government alleges:
- Between September 2015 and June 2017, Lauren, Raniere and Mack, together with others, stole property by extortion.
- They stole this property and other things of value, by compelling and inducing “lower-ranking DOS members” to deliver such property by instilling in them a fear that, if the property were not so delivered, Lauren, Raniere and Mack, and others, would:
- Expose a secret and publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject one or more persons to hatred, contempt, and ridicule;
- Perform an act which was calculated to harm one or more persons with respect to their health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation, and personal relationships, in violation of New York Penal Law.
In other words – release their collateral.
Her attorney argues that Racketeering Act Seven, as written, fails to provide:
- The identity of the ‘lower-level DOS members’.
- The nature of the alleged threats.
- The location where the extortionate acts occurred.
- The dates and times of the alleged offenses..
- The lower-ranking DOS members’ secret that Lauren, Raniere or Mack would expose.
- The act that Lauren, Raniere or Mack would have performed to cause harm to the lower-ranking DOS members.
“Without this information, Racketeering Act Seven does not provide even a paltry level of information to allow anticipation of the acts or conversations that the government will assert at trial…Accordingly, Racketeering Act Seven must be dismissed,” her attorney writes.
Racketeering Act Nine has two parts – A & B.
In Racketeering Act Nine-A, Forced Labor of Jane Doe 6, the government alleges:
- Between February 2017 and June 2017, Lauren obtained the labor and services of Jane Doe 6 by means of:
- Force, physical restraint and threats of physical restraint to her and one or more other persons;
- Serious harm and threats of serious harm to her and one or more other persons;
- One or more schemes, plans, and patterns intended to cause her to believe that, if she did not perform such labor and services, she and one or more other persons would suffer serious harm.
In response to the government’s allegations, her attorney argues that the means by which Lauren allegedly obtained forced labor from Jane Doe 6 are not alleged in the Indictment.
He also argues that merely obtaining someone’s labor or services is not prohibited by law. It is the threatening or harmful means by which the defendant obtained the labor of an individual that is the “core of criminality”. He further argues that the indictment does not:
- State what purported ‘force, physical restraint, and threats of physical restraint’ or ‘serious harm and threats of serious harm’ were made by Lauren to obtain the labor and services of Jane Doe 6.
- Detail the ‘schemes, plans and patterns’ devised by Lauren, which would have caused Jane Doe 6 to engage in any alleged labor and services.’
- Provide enough detail to support that Jane Doe 6 acquiesced to the alleged forced labor because of something more than “a subjective feeling that she may suffer negative consequences.”
- State the nature of Jane Doe 6’s alleged “forced labor and services” provided to Lauren— an essential element of the offense charged.
- Provide the specific facts upon which guilt hinges.
Her attorney argues that because of the above, Racketeering Act 9-A must be dismissed.
In Racketeering Act Nine-B, Extortion of Jane Doe 6, the government alleges:
- Between February 2017 and June 2017. Lauren stole property by extortion to wit:
- Bank account authorization.
- Sexually explicit photographs and videos.
- By compelling and inducing Jane Doe 6 to deliver such property by instilling in her a fear that, if the property were not so delivered, Lauren would:
- Expose a secret and publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject one or more persons to hatred, contempt, and ridicule; (and/or)
- Perform an act calculated to harm one or more persons materially with respect to their health, safety, business, career calling, financial condition, reputation, and personal relationships, in violation of New York Penal Law.
Her attorney argues that although Racketeering Act Nine-B names a victim, Jane Doe 6, and identifies the personal property, bank account authorizations and sexually explicit photographs and videos, the indictment:
- Does not specify which of Lauren’s actions constitute criminal activity;
- Only “vaguely describes” that the alleged acts committed against Jane Doe 6 occurred in the Eastern District of New York within a four-month period.
- Is unclear as to the specific month, date or time of the alleged offense.
- Is unclear as to the location where the extortionate acts were alleged to have occurred
- It makes no mention whether this Racketeering Act occurred in Brooklyn, Long Island, Staten Island, or some other location within the Eastern District of New York.
- This is “especially important given that the government’s Complaint alleges that several of the DOS related activities also occurred throughout the state of New York.”
- Is critically missing the nature of the threat which presumably instilled more than a subjective fear in Jane Doe 6.
- The absence of this information is especially important, given that many of the DOS members voluntarily provided their collateral on at least two separate occasions: 1. In order to learn about DOS. 2. In order to join DOS.
- The fact that Jane Doe 6 provided collateral voluntarily undercuts any notion that there was a threat component inherent in the sharing of collateral.
- The government’s failure to properly state the nature of the threat supports that this was nothing more than a subjective fear by Jane Doe 6.
Her attorney argues that “…to the extent that the alleged ‘forced labor and services’ constitute the ‘acts of care’ described in the Complaint (e.g., buying groceries, making lunch, carrying luggage, cleaning houses, and retrieving lost items), such acts do not constitute forced labor, as these acts were not obtained by the methods contemplated by 18 U.S.C. § 1589(a).”
This argument suggests that such simple services are hardly “forced labor” based on the spirit of the law.
How far any of these arguments go is up to the judge.