Kathy Russell leaves court after pleading guilty to one count of visa fraud - concerning her 2014 fraud concerning Rainbow Cultural Garden director and DOS slave Loreta Garza.

Kathy Russell’s complete allocution – her admission of lying on visa about Loretta Garza’s job and kickback

On Good Friday, Kathy Russell, bookkeeper for Nxivm, plead guilty and ended the prosecution of her in the case of U.S. v. Raniere Et Al.

Assistant US Attorneys Tanya Hajjar and Moira Penza appeared in court for the government.  Justine Harris and Amanda Ravich appeared for Kathy Russell, who, of course, was also present.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis presided.

Russell chose to accept a plea deal which allowed her to plead guilty to a superseding information [not an indictment] charging her with visa fraud.

Russell, 61, was sworn in and was asked and answered that she completed high school and some college in Jacksonville, Florida.

THE COURT: And are you currently employed?

THE DEFENDANT: Not really. No, sir.

THE COURT: And when you were in employed, what kind of work did you do?

THE DEFENDANT: Accounting.

Russell said she was not under the care of a physician or psychiatrist; nor had she been hospitalized or treated for narcotics addiction.

THE COURT: Have you taken any drugs or medicine or pills, or drunk any alcoholic beverages within the last 24 hours?

THE DEFENDANT: I had a glass of wine last night, Your Honor.

***

THE COURT: Now, you are being charged by the U.S. Attorney in a superseding information as follows, and I’m going to quote:

In or about and between February 2014 and March 2015, both dates being approximate and inclusive, within the Northern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant, Kathy Russell, together with others, did knowingly and intentionally present an application, affidavit, and other document required by the immigration laws and regulations prescribed thereunder which contain one or more false statements with respect to one or more material facts, and which fails to contain any reasonable basis in law and fact, to wit: The defendant caused to be submitted to the United States Consulate an offer of employment that the defendant knew to contain materially false and fraudulent statements, which offer of employment was submitted in support of a visa application for another individual, end of quote.

So do you understand the charge that’s been brought against you —

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

***

THE COURT: Okay. I’m going to ask the government to set forth the elements of the crime that the government would have to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt and unanimously in order to convict you of visa fraud if you went to trial on this charge.

MS. HAJJAR: Your Honor, the government would prove that in or about and between February 2014 and March 2015, in the Northern District of New York, Kathy Russell knowingly presented documents to the United States Consulate in Mexico in connection with a NAFTA TN visa application, including an employment letter that contained materially false statements. Specifically, the government would prove that the defendant presented documents to the U.S. Consulate, including a letter dated February 15th, 2014, which contained statements regarding the visa applicant’s job description and salary that were false.

Second, the defendant acted with knowledge that the statements in the February 2014 letter were untrue.

Third, the February 2014 letter was required by the immigration laws or regulations.

And fourth, that the statement was material to activities or decisions of the Consular officer; that is, it has a natural tendency to influence or was capable of influencing the agency’s decisions or activities.

And specifically, the government would prove that although the defendant represented that the visa applicant was a management consultant for NXIVM, the defendant was aware that the applicant was, in fact, working for a separate entity, Rainbow Cultural Gardens.

***

THE COURT: Okay. I’m going to go over the statutory penalties associated with pleading guilty to the charge of visa fraud as set forth in paragraph 1 of the plea agreement.  The maximum term of imprisonment is ten years. There is no minimum term of imprisonment. The maximum supervised release term is three years…The maximum fine is $250,000. Restitution is in the full amount of each victim’s losses, as determined by the Court…

Do you understand the statutory penalties associated with pleading guilty to this crime?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do, Your Honor.

***

THE COURT: Miss Russell, in sentencing you, I’m required to take into consideration a number of things about you and about the crime to which you are pleading guilty. When I do that, I will be directed to a guideline that will provide a sentencing range. I’m not required to sentence you within the range provided by the guideline. I am required to carefully consider the guideline recommendation, among other things, in deciding what would constitute a reasonable sentence in your case. It is my experience that a sentence within the guideline range is often reasonable and appropriate, but that is not always the case.

In determining an appropriate sentence for your case, I will consider possible departures from that range under the sentencing guidelines, as well as other statutory sentencing factors. I may ultimately decide to impose a sentence that is more lenient or more severe than the one recommended by the guidelines. If I do so, I explain the reasons for the sentence that I have selected. You understand that?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do, Your Honor.

THE COURT: It is important to understand that no one knows today what your exact guideline range will be. Any calculations contained in your plea agreement are estimates and I am not bound by them.
You understand that?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Before I impose sentence, I will receive a report prepared by the Probation Department, which will calculate a particular guideline range. You and your attorneys will have the opportunity to see that report. If you think it is mistaken or incomplete in any way, you’ll have the opportunity to bring that to my attention.  You must understand that no one can make any promise to you as to the sentence I will impose. Your attorneys or the prosecutors may have made predictions to you, and they make recommendations to the Court concerning the sentence I should impose, and I will listen carefully to whatever they say, but you must clearly understand that the final responsibility for sentencing you is mine alone. While I may view this case identically to the attorneys, I may also view the case differently; if so, I may not impose a sentence that they have predicted or recommended.

Even if I sentence you differently from what the attorneys or anyone else has estimated or predicted, you will still be bound by your guilty plea and you will not be allowed to withdraw it. Do you understand that?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do, Your Honor.

THE COURT: The government has made a prediction in the plea agreement that has a computation of your guideline. According to the government, if you plead guilty today and accept responsibility, your adjusted offense level would be a 10, and the range of incarceration, assuming you were in Criminal History Category I, is 6 to 12 months in the custody of the Attorney General. Is that the government’s current prediction?

MS. HAJJAR: It is, Your Honor.

THE COURT: You understand the government’s current prediction, Miss Russell?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Now, in this plea agreement letter that’s dated today, April 19th, 2019, that you have just told me you have discussed with your attorneys and which you signed today, there’s an agreement regarding your right to appeal your sentence. The agreement letter says and, Miss Russell, I want to make sure you understand this, that by signing this agreement, you agree not to appeal or in any other way challenge the sentence that I impose if it is 18 months or less.  If I were to sentence you to more than 18 months in jail, and you believe there was a legal or other error in my doing that, you would then have the right to appeal your sentence to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Do you understand that?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Do you understand that you have the right to appeal only if I sentence you to more than 18 months?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Do you understand that even if the sentence I give is you more severe than what you may be thinking or hoping you will receive, you are still going to bound by your guilty plea, and not permitted to withdraw, and you will be not able to challenge or appeal that sentence, as long as it is 18 months or less, as we have discussed?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do, Your Honor.

***

THE COURT: Are you aware of any viable legal defenses to the charge?

MS. HARRIS: Your Honor, to the extent she has defenses based on venue or statute of limitations, we waive both of those defenses.

THE COURT: I see. Okay. All right. Miss Russell, are you ready to plead?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir, I am.

THE COURT: All right. Miss Russell, how do you plead to the charge contained in the sole count of the superseding information charging you with visa fraud, guilty or not guilty?

THE DEFENDANT: Guilty.

THE COURT: Are you making this plea of guilty voluntarily and of your own free will?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I am, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Has anyone threatened or forced you to plead guilty?

THE DEFENDANT: No.

THE COURT: Other than the agreement with the government, has anyone made you any promise that caused you to plead guilty?

THE DEFENDANT: No one did, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Has anyone made you any promise about the sentence that you will receive?

THE DEFENDANT: No, they haven’t, Your Honor.

THE COURT: What I’d like you to do now is to tell me in your own words what you did to commit the crime of visa fraud. And are you reading from a prepared statement?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I am.

THE COURT: Have you reviewed that with your attorneys?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I have, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Okay. But it’s your statement?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, it is, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Okay. All right. If you’re reading, please go slowly. Thank you.

THE DEFENDANT: On or about February 2014, I knowingly and intentionally presented a document to the United States Consulate in Mexico that contained false statements, specifically in support of a TN visa —

THE COURT: A what? I’m sorry.

THE DEFENDANT: Specifically in support of a TN visa.

MS. HARRIS: TN; the two letters, Your Honor, T-N.

THE COURT: TN visa. Okay, go ahead.

THE DEFENDANT: For Loretta Garza Davila. I submitted the document that I knew contained materially false statements regarding Miss Garza’s job description and salary. This document, which I signed, described Miss Garza’s job title to be a management consultant at NXIVM Corporation and stated she would provide advice on strategic marketing needs of NXIVM. While Miss Garza did perform some of the duties described in the letter, she spent most of her time developing and running a separate company called Rainbow Cultural Gardens.

THE COURT: Rainbow?

THE DEFENDANT: Cultural Gardens.

THE COURT: Go ahead.

THE DEFENDANT: I knew Miss Garza worked for Rainbow Cultural Gardens, but I submitted a letter on her behalf that intentionally omitted that fact. I also knew that Miss Garza was not keeping the full amount of the salary listed in that letter. The letter that I submitted was required to be filed by the immigration laws. I know what I did was wrong, and I’m very sorry for the trouble I have caused. I compromised my own principles and I will have to live with that for the rest of my life.

THE COURT: Thank you. Anything else?

MS. HAJJAR: No, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Miss Russell, based on the information you have given me, I find you are acting voluntarily, that you fully understand the charge, your rights, the consequences of your plea; there is, moreover, a factual basis for plea and I, therefore, accept your plea of guilty to the sole count of the superseding information charging you with visa fraud. I have set a date for sentencing of Wednesday, July 31st, 2019, at 11:30 a.m.

You will be contacted by a probation officer for a pre-sentence interview. Your attorneys will want to be with you at that interview at that time. Please provide the information needed by the probation officer about your background so that he or she can prepare a pre-sentence investigation report. That report will be provided to you in writing. You’ll have a chance to go over it with your attorneys. If there’s anything in the report that’s a mistake, or if there’s anything about you that I should know that’s not in the report, please share that information with your attorneys and they will provide it in writing to the probation officer and to the government and to the Court.

When you come to be sentenced, I will have read everything that’s been submitted. Your attorneys will provide a sentencing memorandum to the Court, as will the government, and if there’s anything in addition, you can advise me of it at the time of the sentencing. If there is something else, you should discuss it first with your attorneys before you discuss it with me. All right? I read everything that is submitted to me, so I will be ready to sentence you on July 31st. All right. Do you understand that? Any questions?

THE DEFENDANT: No, Your Honor. Thank you.

THE COURT: Okay. I’m going to return the plea agreement to the
government and request a photostatic copy for the Court’s file.
In terms of release on bail, they remain in effect, correct?

MS. HAJJAR: Yes. Thank you.

THE COURT: Is there anything further from the
government today?

MS. HAJJAR: No. Thank you, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Miss Harris, is there anything else from
the defense?

MS. HARRIS: Nothing further, Judge.

THE COURT: Okay.

MS. HARRIS: Happy holiday weekend.

THE COURT: Thank you very much. Have a nice one.

Kathy Russell helped DOS slave, Raniere harem member and operator of Rainbow Cultural Garden, Loreta Garza illegally get into the USA. Garza is from Monterrey Mexico.

 

About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is the founder of the FrankReport, publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.

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  • I wonder if Kathy Russell ever happens to read the comment section of the Frankreport and thus realizes how much she is pittied for being a moron and a 50+ year old aspiring ballerina……

    Maybe Clare will give her a job as an assistant because she held out so long…….

  • Lost, sad people… Russell may be so far off the path of reality that this apology is all she could muster. I think she has been so programmed to do whatever the higher ups tell her to do, that she probably didn’t know what to write. Sad. Hopefully she will learn to think for herself…

  • “I’m very sorry for the trouble I have caused” ???? This is what a Sears and Robuck customer representative would say if the wrong item was mailed and the recipient called to request a replacement. This is what someone might say when confronted by the apartment complex manager for parking in the wrong spot. What a pathetic “apology”

    • Yolanda, I’m glad that all the defendants except Raniere pleading, has not demoralized you into silence. I so enjoy your comments, please keep them coming.

      Why is it that Nancy, Lauren and Allison are betrayers for taking plea deals, yet Clare and Kathy are heroes? Please explain.

    • No one at this blog that comments gives two shitz about Russell. This blog is celebrity driven. Take away the actress bimbos and this blog would be a ghost town. None of these pervs that comment here ever masturbated to pixels of Kathy Russell…well maybe Johnson.

  • No kickback was listed. I doubt Ms. Russell was paid extra for doing what she was told was her duty – probably told it was for the greater good of NXIVM.

    Another key statement – “I also knew that Miss Garza was not keeping the full amount of the salary listed in that letter.” This was common fare for the immigrants who worked for NXIVM, they would inform the government that they had a certain income to justify their visas, only to receive half the income from Clare & co. becuase they didnt have enough work for them. Ask all the MDS’s they shipped in from Europe to teach Gaelin & other kids.

    The government could have pushed on this, but instead sold their soul to make a quick deal and a scandal on taking out Keith. If only they had tried harder, they could have obtained the real ringleader of NXIVM.

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