Show Me The Money – How NXIVM Victims May Be Able To Recover Some Of Their Losses

The courtroom in which sentences will be meted out

At some point in the not too distant future, all the pending criminal charges in the case of the U.S. v. Raniere Et Al will have been resolved – and, hopefully, we’ll just be waiting to find out how much time each of the defendants will be spending in federal prison.

But that will hardly be the end of litigation for at least some of the defendants in this case.

That’s because, despite Keith Raniere’s word-salad bullshit, there are lots of victims of NXIVM out there who may decide to seek recompense for their losses.

So, how exactly is that going to work?

Well, like a lot of legal issues, it’s a bit complicated.

Let me see if I can uncomplicate at least some of it for our readers.


The first question is whether the presiding judge in the case, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, will order any defendants who pleaded guilty – or who are found guilty at trial – to pay restitution to the victims of their crimes.

In general, federal courts are statutorily required to order victim restitution when sentencing a defendant for certain types of felonies. In addition, they can also order victim restitution for a wide variety of other felonies.

When Nancy Salzman pleaded guilty, Judge Garaufis informed her that “restitution is mandatory in the full amount of each victim’s losses as determined by the Court”.

When Lauren Salzman and Allison Mack each pleaded guilty, he similarly informed them that  “Restitution… is mandatory, and it would be in the full amount of each victim’s losses as determined by the Court”. He also indicated that they would be subject to civil forfeiture as spelled out in the agreements they signed as part of their plea deals.

Presumably, victim restitution will also be imposed on Keith Raniere, Clare Bronfman, and Kathy Russell if/when any of them enter into plea deals or are found guilty at trial.

While that all sounds very promising, one problem is that restitution is only available to those who have suffered a physical injury or a financial loss as a direct and proximate consequence of the crimes of admission or conviction – and only to the extent of their loss.

Another problem is that, except for Clare, Keith, and Allison, the defendants in this case may not have a lot of assets that can be tapped for immediate payments to victims.

Clare has whatever assets are not tied up in trusts; Keith presumably has the funds that he inherited from Pam Cafritz; and Allison likely has some residuals from her former acting career.

But it’s unlikely that Nancy, Lauren, and Kathy are going to bring much to the table – now or in the future.

At the end of the day, it will be up to Judge Garaufis to decide all the important questions regarding restitution – including, but not limited to, the following:
• How much will each of the defendants be required to pay into the restitution fund?
• Who will be eligible to submit claims for restitution?
• What types of claims will be eligible for restitution?
• How much will each approved claimant receive from the restitution fund?

If you think you may have a restitution claim – or if you have any restitution-related questions – I urge you to contact an attorney who has experience dealing with these types of claims.


So, if victims of the NXIVM cult are not going to receive any court-ordered restitution, their only other option will likely be some sort of civil action against some/all of the defendants and/or other people who were involved in financing or running the cult.

Here are some of the issues facing those who choose to go that route.

Class Action Lawsuits
Although these were once very popular – and resulted in some huge payouts for plaintiffs – courts have become very negative towards them in recent years.

And they have very specific requirements, such as:
• Precisely defining the class of plaintiffs (These have to be people who have common claims against the defendant); and
• Identifying a small number of suitable class representatives (These have to be people whose experiences, circumstances and claims are virtually identical to all members of the class).

Although there is already a class-action effort underway to recover what people paid to take NXIVM training courses, I think it’s going to be difficult – if not impossible – to prove that everyone who took such courses was duped in the same way (Unlike a telemarketing scheme that recruits new clients via one fraudulent ad or series of ads, a pyramid scheme like NXIVM las lots of individual recruiters).

For people who believe they were harmed beyond the cost of the courses – e.g., people who suffered emotional injuries, trauma, etc. – it is extremely unlikely that their claims can be pursued via a class action lawsuit because their experiences will all tend to be different from one another.

Even if they able to meet the requirements for a class-action lawsuit, there will need to be a series of “mini-trials” to resolve individualized issues: e.g., what type of injury did they suffer, what damages are they entitled to, etc.

New York State’s consumer protection laws also pose a problem for potential class action lawsuits. That’s because they generally apply only to consumers who actually live in New York State.

RE: Collective Actions
Also known as “Mass Tort” lawsuits, these types of legal actions allow plaintiffs to retain their own attorneys and work cooperatively with one another – or to utilize one law firm (or a group of law firms) to represent all of them.

One advantage of this type of legal action is that it provides for economies of scale: e.g., common issues can be litigated in one proceeding, discovery can be shared with other plaintiffs, and evidence obtained regarding defendants can be used by all plaintiffs, etc.

Another advantage of individual plaintiffs banding together in a collective action is that it can reduce or eliminate the risk of inconsistent decisions that can result if there are numerous lawsuits going on at the same time. This is especially true if they are being handled in different courts and before different judges (An adverse decision for the plaintiff in one case can sometimes have a tremendously negative impact on plaintiffs in other related cases).


Regardless of how someone chooses to pursue their NXIVM-related claims, there are many other factors that they will have to consider. Here are a few of them.

RE: Federal RICO Civil Claims
As readers of the Frank Report know, the pending criminal case centers around Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy charges (So far, all three guilty pleas have been limited to those types of crimes).

And as has already been pointed out by several readers, there is also a civil counterpart to the federal RICO criminal statute that may offer the best chance for those who have been victimized by NXIVM to assert their claims for damages (Although some states also have statutes that allow for civil RICO claims, only the State Attorney General can assert such claims in New York York).

But civil RICO lawsuits are also very complex, very expensive to prosecute, and very difficult to manage.

Based on discussions with attorneys who have successfully brought such lawsuits, I would estimate that discovery alone is going to cost several millions of dollars in this case.

Expert witnesses – which will be an absolute necessity in this case – will cost several more millions.

Because of all those costs, it is unlikely that any victim of NXIVM will be able to pursue any sort of claim unless they’re able to find attorneys who are able and willing to take the case on a contingency fee only basis.

The legal team – regardless of whether it is a single law firm or several law firms working together – will have to have the financial wherewithal to fully pursue all aspects of the lawsuit without requiring the plaintiffs to put forth any money until a judgment is awarded or a settlement is reached.

And the legal team will have to be fully-staffed with enough lawyers, paralegals, investigators and support staff to deal with all the filings and legal maneuverings that will be involved in this type of case.

NXIVM victims will also have to be very patient because any lawsuit to recover for damages that they’ve incurred is likely going to go on for several years.

Bronfman and Raniere are well-seasoned veterans when it comes to complex, slow-to-resolve civil lawsuits. That includes, but is not limited to, the Rick Ross case that dragged on for more than 14 years.

And even if the lawsuit results in a judgment for the plaintiffs, several rounds of appeal are almost inevitable.

Types Of Claims
The types of claims that have the highest chance for success fall into two categories: claims for economic losses – and claims for emotional/psychological injuries. There are also a variety of other potential claims that, for purposes of this post, we’ll label as “Miscellaneous Claims”.

RE: Claims For Economic Losses
Those who only took one module – or one intensive – are unlikely to recover any damages for the fees they paid unless they can prove that they were fraudulently induced to take the module/intensive.

And the mere fact that NXIVM coaches utilized “puffery” to convince someone to sign up for a module or course is not going to be enough to meet the applicable standard for that someone to pursue a claim for economic loss.

Hamburger joints that advertise “best burger in town”, car dealers that advertise “best deals ever”, and cult leaders who claim to be “the world’s smartest man” are all allowed to engage in puffery.

Being able to recover the fees that were paid for NXIVM courses will require proof of the elaborate con that was the backbone of the NXIVM operation.

And while that can be done, it’s going to take an extremely creative and diligent legal team to pull it off.

RE: Claims For Emotional/Psychological Injuries
There is no doubt that NXIVM caused large numbers of people to be traumatized.

Claims for those emotional/psychological injuries can likely be pursued in state court or federal court – but, regardless of venue, these types of claims can result in the awarding of compensatory damages and, at least in some cases, punitive damages as well.

But, as might be expected, being able to prove that you have incurred emotional or psychological injuries is much more difficult than proving you spent money taking NXIVM courses.

So, while these types of claims can definitely be asserted, it will take a law firm with the right type of expertise and experience to generate positive results for the victims.

RE: Miscellaneous Claims
There are other types of claims that can likely be pursued against NXIVM and the people who financed and/or operated it: e.g., extortion, forced labor, identity theft, servitude, sexual abuse, trafficking, etc.

But in order to be successfully pursued, these types of claims generally require highly-specialized legal expertise and knowledge.

So, victims who wish to pursue these types of claims may have to search well outside their own geographical areas in order to find firms that can successfully represent them with respect to these types of claims.

What To Avoid
Just as it’s important for victims of NXIVM to know what to look for when hiring an attorney to represent them in a civil action, it’s just as important that they know what to avoid.

First and foremost, potential plaintiffs should avoid attorneys and law firms that want to talk about “settlement strategies” before any lawsuit has been filed – or in the early stages of the case. If an attorney starts out looking for a settlement, it’s unlikely that they will do all the work that will be needed to get one that is fair and just.

Second, they should avoid attorneys and law firms that have not been involved in complex civil litigation cases. While everyone has to start somewhere, you don’t want to be the “where” when it comes to an attorney or law firm learning the ropes as regards this type of litigation.

Third, they should avoid attorneys and law firms that do not have the financial wherewithal to “invest” a substantial amount of money in a case that will likely take several years to resolve. If the lawyer or law firm you’re interviewing doesn’t have the type of “deep pockets” this type of litigation will require, then keep looking until you find one who does.

This post is not meant to provide legal advice but rather to outline some of the things that victims of NXIVM should think about if they are interested in pursuing civil claims against NXIVM and those who financed it and managed it.


Editor’s Note: Readers of this blog may recall mention of Neil L. Glazer, an attorney at the law firm of Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. (His name has appeared in several court filings – and he was prominently mentioned in the series of posts concerning the Storage Locker Wars). While he would not comment on the record, he has confirmed that he represents numerous witnesses in the criminal proceedings – and that he and a team of lawyers from his firm and one other firm will be commencing civil litigation and taking “other appropriate actions” on behalf of a large number of people that have been harmed by NXIVM and its leadership.

Although Glazer would not discuss any details, he did say that his firm will continue to take calls from anyone who feels they were harmed by NXIVM and its leaders. When asked one last time for a quote, Glazer said, “We prefer to speak through our court papers and appearances.”

About the author

K.R. Claviger


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  • Apparently Kirsten Gillibrand isn’t doing too well in the Presidential race… Frank – Let’s not forget the Senator who was the embodiment of the three wise monkeys.

    “There is “no question” that the fundraising “was adversely impacted by certain establishment donors — and many online — who continue to punish Kirsten for standing up for her values and for women,” the Gillibrand campaign told the Washington Post.”

    • Serves Gillibrand right — she did do Senator Al Franken dirty. Ran the former, beloved SNL comedian out of office in disgrace for no greater offense than lecherously mugging for the camera — all so she could nab the #metoo spotlight for her long-sought, long-shot (IMO) POTUS run.

      Meanwhile, Gillibrand, most disgracefully hasn’t begun to run NXIVM out of her own State Capital or stood up for her own constituents to bring State charges for the cult’s crimes within the State’s sole jurisdiction that EDNY cannot Federally prosecute and some perpetrators, including known pedophiles such as Keith Raniere himself, may get away with and go unprosecuted, for that reason.

      In fact, judging by the conspicuous timing of some of the Bronfman’s contributions to Gillibrand’s campaign fundings, Nancy Salzman’s yenta role in hooking the “Queen of Hearts” up with not only the $ but Hillary Clinton and top DNC players —Kirsten Gillibrand — and what went on in 2008 between NX, Nancy Salzman and Kirsten’s Daddy Rutnik — something they all, apparently, felt compelled to not speak of again, even to lie about having any prior knowledge of NX despite Gillibrand making public appearances with its President — may well be one of the main reasons the said pedophiles got away with it for the past 30 years so far.

      Great story, btw, Claviger. Wish the victims of the pedophilia and other emotionally damaging crimes could be better assured they may be able to sue on their own — in view of the injustice that such apparent corruption as continues to prevail in the NYS Capital could bring about.

      • Franken is a piece of crap. Always has been. Never should have ever been anywhere near the Senate. Election fraud in that election stunk to high heaven

  • If anyone is honest with themselves and their conscience it is Keith who has been the most unfairly targeted. Moira Penza hates men. So she lets the real women criminals Allison Nancy Lauren off and attacks Kathy for standing by Keith.

    • Yolanda Cortez, may just I call you Yolanda? As always, I find your comments extremely insightful. Yolanda, I take it that you love men, unlike that evil man-hater Moira Penza. Do you love just one man, to the exclusion of all others? Do you have a husband or a boyfriend of your own, or is it just Keith?

      • These Yolanda comments are entirely fake. Just someone stirring the pot for fun. It’s the new iteration of Pea Onyu and Monte Blue (I forget how you spell it). I wouldn’t bother trying to dialog with this poster. A true believer from the other side would offer up more detail and answer questions put to him or her.

    • Yolanda,
      I noticed that you came on the scene right around the time that Pea Onyu disappeared from the scene.
      Is that a coincidence?
      And I notice that both you and Pea defend Keith and defend ad0ults having sex with 12 year old girls.
      Is that a coincidence, too?
      I hope Pea is doing OK.

  • Krclaviger,

    You are a good man to help provide information to victims and to help the victims understand the type of costly and time consuming litigation they may face if they press forward with various lawsuits.

    Your a righteous dude! I wish you well!

    • Interesting to see, thanks for the links.

      Sadly, I have to wonder if Raniere might still be getting away with branding and enslaving women, if he’d just stuck to the likes of yoga instructors, tribal belly dancers, and the daughters of Mexico’s European-descended elite.

      I’d hoped that the case with its celebrity angle might spur an overdue public conversation issues of undue influence and control by groups like NXIVM, but it may not really get into that now depending on who if anyone ends up on trial and taking the stand in this case, and whether additional charges ever go to trial in Albany.

      • Anony – Totally agree. I was hoping this case would become much more than it has in the press. It still may, but I kind of doubt it now, too. Mainstream media spins on sensationalizing stories with such a fast turnover rate unless it’s celebrity. Despite all of the horrid details and innuendo surrounding this case, it still does not have enough staying power. Appreciate your comments!

    • Dear Ms.Pez Brain.
      Keith Raine’s restitution was pre-paid. That’s what got him and his followers into the mess they find themselves in now.
      Every blow job you have him was part of his payment.

    • Yolanda – It depends on who’s holding the cauterizing pen. Or maybe Bubba will give Vanguard the restitution that he deserves. 😋

    • Yolanda,
      Is there any plan to revive the Knife Media using Salinas money?
      It could get a new jazzy name like “The Cutting Edge.”
      Carlos Salinas has criticized the Trump Administration and he might want to have his own press mouthpiece.

  • Ok so Mark Hildreth, KK and company have the option to be a victim of the cult. Thing is getting better everyday!

  • Thanks once more for the ongoing analysis, and opinions.

    I’m curious as to how Garaufis will assess restitution in this case – if I recall, in RICO actions in can be double the profits of the criminal enterprise, though the interesting question is how that would even be calculated.

    Then, there may be other criminal cases, and other fines and restitution ordered. And we have yet to even hear what the IRS and ICE may want to assess people and entities involved, for various omissions and transgressions.

    And as you hint at, litigious and deep-pocketed parties can draw out civil cases inordinately – that’s in the Scientology playbook that NXIVM is known to have copied, and in their case has resulted in cases that have dragged out in the range of a decade, wearing down claimants and dissuading lawyers from even taking cases against them.

    My guess is that only the Bronfmans will have any assets left for civil claimants to go after, and Clare may even start to run out of funds to which she has access, as she has squandered a lot on NXIVM and her remaining trusts may be unassailable (though not large enough to support her accustomed lifestyle). It’s no surprise then, that there’s apparently already at least one suit against Sara.

  • “When Nancy Salzman pleaded guilty, Judge Garaufis informed her that “restitution is mandatory in the full amount of each victim’s losses as determined by the court”.

    For Lauren Salzman and Allison Mack, their restitution obligations are spelled out in the agreements they signed as part of their plea deals. Although we have not yet seen those agreements, my expectation is that their restitution obligations are likely going to be very similar to Nancy’s.”

    To be honest, i’m surprised it’s not in the agreement for Lauren but it probably depend on the hierarchy…
    Some of the defendants are Executive (Raniere,Bronfmans and the Salzmans) , some are pawns…

    If we go by the money they made out of the whole thing, it’s pretty much the same. The executive made lots of money but the pawns were broken when arrested.

    I also doubt that any victims outside this case will be potential candidate for any kind of restitution.

    The restitution is also most likely linked to the trialed prejudice (the extorsion cases) , i doubt they can get a “refund” on their classes…

    • There is restitution language in Lauren’s agreement – and in Allison’s agreement. And both of them have also agreed to a certain amount of civil forfeiture, the details of which we won’t know until those agreements are made public. I went back and added some more precise language as a result of your comment.

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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