As Keith Raniere’s first anniversary at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) looms around the corner, we’re learning more and more about what was going on in his life before he was arrested – and how he plans to talk his way out of his current dilemma.
Much of the new information we’re getting is coming from documents that were originally filed “UNDER SEAL” in the case of the U.S. v. Raniere Et Al.
Judge Garaufis recently ordered some of these documents be unsealed – and that, instead, they be redacted to keep secret only the most sensitive information contained in them.
And so, by carefully reading through these documents, we are finding little gems everywhere.
Here are some of them from a recent filing:
• There is evidence to show that the primary functions of the NXIVM/ESP criminal enterprise were:
(1) To recruit other individuals to work in one or more of the pyramid organizations that were part of the enterprise – and, at times, to serve as sexual partners for Raniere;
(2) To protect the criminal enterprise by, among other things, surveilling and attacking perceived enemies of Raniere and Nxivm; and
(3) To promote the criminal enterprise through efforts to gain influence and power.
• There is evidence to show that Raniere and his co-defendants were convinced that there was a “large-scale plot to destroy Raniere and Nxivm” – and that John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 were part of that plot.
That’s why Raniere, Clare Bronfman, Kathy Russell, and Nancy Salzman conspired to obtain the passwords for – and monitor the emails accounts for – those two guys.
They also monitored the email accounts of Jane Doe 2 but that was done to ensure that she remained loyal to Raniere.
• There is evidence to show that several DOS slaves were directed to have sex with Raniere as a condition of their continuing involvement with DOS.
• There is evidence to show that Raniere is going to claim that he was not involved in any racketeering enterprise within NXIVM/ESP – and that if one existed, it was “predicated mainly on the acts of the cooperating witness in this case and a Mexican national”.
Apparently, Raniere has decided to blame Emiliano Salinas or Alex Betancourt for anything wrong that was going on inside NXIVM/ESP – and given the respective family ties of those two young men – and Raniere’s desire to stay alive long enough to see his children start attending a Rainbow Cultural Garden School – I’m guessing he’s going to point his finger at the much less dangerous Alex Betancourt to take the fall for this one.
Raniere may not be the “brightest man in the world” but he’s also not the stupidest…
• There is evidence to show that NXIVM/ESP was structured on the same “business model” that Raniere had used for Consumers Buyline Inc. (CBI).
To buttress this argument, the prosecution will introduce a November 15, 2007 email from a NXIVM/ESP member to Nancy Salzman in which the member wrote: “I gave an intro today for 24 people and we had 15 sign up. We really need to grow staff faster. I’m going to take a closer look to really understand multilevel marketing. Getting ready for CBI part 2”.
• There is evidence to show that NXIVM/ESP scammed its own members by allowing them to take classes in exchange for future hours of service the members would devote to NXIVM/ESP-related tasks – and then not giving them full credit for the hours of service they actually provided. As a result of this “undercounting” of service hours, many members of NXIVM/ESP were never able to work off what they owed the company.
• There is evidence to show that several individuals took positions with NXIVM/ESP that they were told would be very lucrative. But, surprise, surprise, none of these people were ever paid at the rate they were promised when they were hired.
Even people who had signed agreements were not paid their agreed-upon rate, Instead, they were told they were being paid less because of “issues” they needed to overcome if they wanted to advance in the NXIVM/ESP community.
And how would these people resolve these “issues” that were holding them back from success? You guessed it – take more NXIVM/ESP classes and do more EMs.
• There is evidence to show that many NXIVM/ESP members were informed that they had committed an “ethical breach” – which was loosely defined as something that harmed the NXIVM/ESP community. These “ethical breaches” could include a variety of things such as:
– Failing to complete an assigned task on time;
– Failing to lose weight per the weight chart they had been assigned
– Exhibiting “pride”;
– “Playing the victim”; or
– Causing negative publicity for the organization.
And how would these people mend their “ethical breaches”? By doing chores and favors for their superiors in the organization (Remember that story about Kathy Russell tending to Nancy Salzman’s flower garden in sweltering heat? That was Kathy mending one of her many “ethical breaches”).
• There is evidence to show that it was Nancy Salzman and Lauren Salzman who were responsible for recruiting “mules” to bring large amounts of undeclared cash over the Mexico/U.S. border. Many of these transactions were structured to stay under the amount of $10,000 limit – which is a crime in and of itself.
Once the cash got to NXIVM/ESP headquarters in Albany, NY, it was recorded as “scholarships” rather than as “income” – and no taxes were ever paid on it.
• There is evidence to show that Raniere, Bronfman, Nancy Salzman, and Russell devised elaborate schemes to hide the fact that Raniere had an ownership interest in numerous properties and investments.
• There is evidence to show that Russell concocted an elaborate scheme of inter-company loans even after she had been told that doing so was improper. She also helped to manage the massive tax avoidance system that permeated all of the NXIVM/ESP-related companies.
Things are not looking good for The Vanguard and his remaining co-defendants.
One of his top-level people has pleaded guilty – and will undoubtedly be a key witness against all of them.
And that’s on top of all the evidence that the prosecution has already amassed against them.
So, what to do?
Well, based on the most recent filings by the defense attorneys, it appears that they’ve decided to put most, if not all, of their eggs in the “Suppress The Evidence” basket.
This is the battle that will be fought out over the next couple of weeks – and when it’s over and Judge Garaufis has ruled in favor of the prosecution – there may be more defendants jumping on the Plea Deal Train.
With apologies to Johnny Cash:
I hear the Plea Deal Train a-comin’; it’s rollin’ ’round the bend
And if I don’t get on now, I may never see sunshine again.
Yeah, I’m gonna be in prison where time just keeps draggin’ on
Unless I get on that Plea Deal Train before it’s gone, gone, gone…