On March 25, Lauren Salzman, 42, pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering and one count of racketeering conspiracy in the Nxivm case.
Although it appears she also signed a cooperation agreement with the feds, all the pertinent information concerning this was redacted from the published transcript of the court hearing.
What we do know is Lauren signed a 10-page agreement, plus a one-page Exhibit A attached to it. The agreement is not available to the public. It is dated March 25, 2019. Frank Report has been told by a source familiar with the proceedings that Lauren signed a “cooperation agreement.”
Present at her hearing before Judge Nicholas Garaufis were Moira Kim Penza and Tanya Hajjar, Assistant US Attorneys; Hector Diaz and Andrea Tazioli, of Quarles & Brady – attorneys for Lauren Salzman, and Lauren herself.
During the proceeding, the judge asked Lauren a series of questions concerning her understandings and competence. He explained the maximum term of imprisonment is 20 years for each of her two charges. There is no minimum term and the sentence imposed on each count may run consecutively, that is, one after the other.
The judge explained he would consult federal guidelines that provides sentencing ranges but that he was not bound by those guidelines.
The judge told Lauren that, “no one knows today what your exact guidelines range will be”. Then he made additional statements that were redacted from the official transcript of the hearing.
This might well be in reference to Lauren’s cooperation with the Feds, and that sentencing might be influenced downward by the nature of her cooperation and how well it is substantially accomplished.
After some additional advisories, the judge asked Lauren “how do you plead to the charge[s]”
Lauren responded, “I plead guilty.”
THE COURT: Are you pleading guilty voluntarily and of your own free will?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, your Honor I am.
THE COURT: Had gone anyone threatened or forced you to you plead guilty?
THE DEFENDANT: No, sir.
THE COURT: Other than the agreement with the Government, has anyone made you a promise that caused you to plead guilty?
THE DEFENDANT: No, sir.
THE COURT: Has anyone made you a promise about the sentence that you will receive?
THE DEFENDANT: No.
THE COURT: So, at this time, I would like you to tell me in your own words what you did to commit these crimes.
Lauren then read from a prepared statement.
Here is her complete allocution:
“I am pleading guilty today after a careful and thorough review of the criminal allegations against me. The conclusion of this review was acknowledging that I committed acts which I knew or should have known were absolutely wrong.
“Over the years, through my association with Nexium, I formed many relationships with members of this organization. Through these associations, I truly believed that I was helping to empower people to live their left lives.
“However, I and others engaged in criminal conduct, which I blindly followed and rationalized as furthering the underlying principles in which Nexium was formed. This rationalization led to my agreement to associate with an enterprise of individuals as alleged in the second superseding indictment.
“The common purpose of the enterprise included obtaining financial and personal benefits for its members for members of the enterprise including myself by furthering and promoting the objectives of Keith Raniere and recruiting others into organizations created by Keith Raniere.
“Between 1999 and 2017, I was aware of and participated in some of the criminal objectives of the enterprise and I conspired and agreed that others who were also part of our conspiracy would commit at least two acts of racketeering in furtherance of this enterprise.
“Between 1999 and 2017, I also knowingly and intentionally conducted and participated directly and indirectly in the conduct of the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering acts which affect interstate and foreign commerce.
“Specifically, I committed the following acts.
“On or about March 2010 through April 2012, I knowingly and intentionally harbored Jane Doe 4, a woman whose identity is known to me, in a room in the home in the Northern District of New York and threatened to deport Jane Doe 4 back to Mexico if she did not complete labor requested by myself and others.
“On or about January 2017 through June 2017, within the Northern District of New York and elsewhere, I was a member of a secret organization developed by Nexium members that has been identified in the indictment as DOS.
“Pursuant to my association in DOS, I knowingly and intentionally took and withheld property from Jane Doe 6 and Jane Doe 11, two women who are known to me and who were enrolled as lower-ranking DOS members.
“This property was referred to by members in DOS as “collateral” which consisted of material or information that belonged to these lower-ranking DOS members and which such lower-ranking DOS members would not want revealed because it could be personally damaging or ruinous.
“I induced Jane Doe 6 and Jane Doe 11 to deliver this collateral to me by instilling them a fear that if the property was not delivered, I could expose this collateral which could have been embarrassing and personally damaging to themselves or others if released.
“From January 2017 to June 2017, within the Northern District of New York and elsewhere, I knowingly and intentionally obtained the labor and services in the form of acts of care from Jane Doe 6 and Jane Doe 11 who were lower-ranking DOS members.
“Acts of care included having these women perform services for me that would have otherwise been compensable. I obtained these labor and services from Jane Doe 6 and Jane Doe 11 by causing them to believe that if they did not perform requested acts of care, then they could suffer serious harm. The serious harm in this case would be the threat of the release of their collateral.
“From January 2017 to June 2017, within the Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, I knowingly and intentionally worked with others and devised a scheme to make materially false representations and omissions regarding DOS in order to obtain property from lower-ranking DOS members. Specifically, I concealed Keith Raniere’s role as the head of DOS and characterized DOS as a women’s organization knowing that Keith Raniere was the head of this organization.
“The property obtained which was considered collateral included credit card authorizations, sexually explicit photos and videos, and rights to assets and property. Such property was transmitted in interstate and foreign commerce via e-mail, telephone, text messages and telegram.
“Your Honor, in light of reviewing all the discovery and having many months to reflect, I came to the conclusion that the most moral and the most just course of action for me was to take full responsibility for my conduct and that is why I am pleading guilty today and I’m very sorry for my poor decision-making and decisions that result in the harm to others and not the just victims in this case but to hundreds of members of our community and their friends and families as well.”
THE COURT: Thank you very much.
THE COURT: All right. Ms. Salzman, I find you were acting voluntarily. That you fully understand rights and consequences of your pleas. There is, moreover, a factual basis for your pleas. I, therefore, accept your pleas of guilty to Counts One and Two of the second superseding indictment.
The judge set a sentencing date for Wednesday, September 11, 2019, at 11:00 a.m.
Lauren Salzman has admitted she was in a criminal enterprise and she “blindly followed” Keith Raniere. She now says that the “moral” thing for her to do is plead guilty – and cooperate with the government.
It is a practical thing also. Without the cooperation agreement, the sentencing guidelines likely fall in the 5-7 range for her two felonies. With the cooperation agreement – and with her providing evidence and testimony against Raniere, Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, and Kathy Russell – the sentence could be as little as two years – and, who knows, maybe even that might be served under house arrest.
Those Salzman women are clever. Lauren and her mother Nancy were the first ones on the plea bargain bus, just as they were about the first on the original Nxivm train.
Nancy was a co-founder of Nxivm in 1998 and Lauren joined the year after in 1999.
Clare and Kathy Russell joined around 2002. Allison Mack joined around 2005.
As for Allison, the dunce who once said outside court in the restroom, “I’m used to taking one for the team,” it looks like she will be taking one for real.
She was seen crying outside court the last time she appeared. It might finally becoming real now for her, the realization may have hit her – she is going to prison.
Vanguard can’t save her. Clare Bronfman can’t save her. Even if Clare paid for her lawyers.
Her old friend, Lauren Salzman, is now actively working against her. Funny too: Allison was talking plea deals back in late April of 2018 before the Salzmans, Bronfman, and Russell were indicted. Chances are she would have been able to wangle a deal back then as good or better than the Salzmans have done now for themselves.
She is potentially facing life in prison and any plea deal she can make today will likely include some kind of sex trafficking – at least as a predicate act. This may mean that she will be on the sex registry, possibly for life – when she gets out of prison.
This is the harsh reality. Ironic too: The Salzmans were a far bigger part of the criminal organization than Allison Mack, and they have turned on her and Raniere too.
This leaves the
800-pound, the 80-pound gorilla, Clare Bronfman out there. She is completely flummoxed, astonished that her wealth can’t buy her out of this mess. She is heading toward trial. Jury selection is about to begin. There is no viable defense. She is going to be convicted. Her high price attorneys can’t save her – they can barely maybe save themselves.
Any plea deal available to her includes years in prison. How could this happen to her?
And her Vanguard, the one she gave up everything for – is in jail. He is as good as buried. He may never see freedom again.
Clare might be able to buy herself a plea deal in the 5-8 year prison range. If she acts promptly.
In the meantime, Lauren is telling all she knows and some of it is deadly – why else would the feds get Lauren signed up on a cooperation agreement except to bag Allison, Keith, and Clare?
In this respect, Lauren learned the lessons of the founder of Executive Success Programs. Looking out for number one. He always did.