Keith Alan Raniere purportedly “lost” $65.6 million of the Seagram’s heiresses, Clare and Sara Bronfman’s money in the commodities futures market from 2005-2007.
There are several possible scenarios which might explain what happened to the money.
- Raniere lost the Bronfman’s $65.6 million through a series of bad (unlucky) commodities trades.
- The Bronfman sister’s father Edgar Bronfman Sr. used his immense wealth and influence to conspire with commodities clearing houses to cause drops in prices in the commodities Raniere traded in with the Bronfman’s money – as Raniere himself claimed – so Bronfman Sr. could create a wedge between Raniere and his daughters.
- Raniere stole the money by defrauding the sisters, who are his trusting devotees.
The Bronfman sisters told me personally that they did not possess any receipts for their $65.6 million in commodities trades – so their own knowledge is of little help. They’re clueless.
A correspondent suggested a scenario that bears some consideration.
He wrote, “It’s hard to believe” that Raniere, “was stupid enough to lose tens of millions of the Bronfman girls’ money in commodities futures…. It’s much easier to believe that he scammed them. But he’s also paranoid, so he would have come up with a scheme to distance himself. I think that’s not hard in commodities futures. The trick is to lose money on purpose, which is easy!”
The writer went on to explain how Raniere could steal millions while making it look like the Bronfmans lost millions:
Raniere “sets up company A, and tells the girls about it. He also sets up company B, through a different broker, and doesn’t tell anyone about it.
“He uses company A to take a losing position in the market, like a contract to deliver frozen orange juice concentrate 6 months in the future at well below expected market price.
“He then uses company B to secretly buy that contract. In 6 months, company B demands delivery from company A. Company A needs cash to do that. So he asks the girls to ‘loan’ him money, so company A can deliver to company B. Company B puts the profit in an offshore account that he has access to.
“The net result is it looks like he has lost money in the market, and has records to prove it. But actually, he just paid the money to himself and hid it offshore.
“I’m oversimplifying because if company A only contracted with company B, he could get caught. So there could be many company B’s. Even better, company B only buys 10% of the losing market position, with other legitimate companies buying the rest. Company B gets lost in the noise. Only 10% of the girls’ money goes into his offshore account, but that’s still plenty, and the chance of getting caught is minimal.”
Using this method, Raniere could steal as much from the Bronfmans as they were willing to invest.
The Bronfmans lost $65.6 million. Was it lost by poor trades Raniere recommended or did Raniere pocket some [or all] of it?
While the fraud itself may be beyond the statute of limitations, it might still serve as a predicate act for a new racketeering charge against Raniere that the Northern District of NY, DOJ might wish to investigate.
In the end, it might not make any difference in Raniere’s prison life. He is going to prison for years on the charges he has already been convicted of.
But he may have had co-conspirators in his fraud effort – people who have not been charged – or only charged minimally.
These too might be vulnerable to charges. Nancy Salzman may be a good example for she worked hard to counsel the Bronfmans into making the trades and was also the owner of the company – First Principles, Inc. – through which the trades were made.
Did she help swindle the Bronfmans?
Nancy is likely to get off with a light sentence [possibly less than two years]. But is she also guilty of other crimes for which hse has not yet been charged?
If proven to be true that Raniere stole – not lost – $65.6 million in commodities, it might help the two incredibly stupid Bronfman sisters actually understand that Raniere is not their guide, philosopher and friend.
He’s a thief.
I do not know what it would take to shake their faith in the monster. Stealing money might do it.
Evidently losing $65.6 million – after he said he had a sure-fire method to make the money – was not enough to shake their faith in him.
Even his conviction, Clare’s conviction and Sara’s fleeing the USA have apparently not been enough to weaken their faith in this madman.
Consider how astonishing this is – and how people in the future might view this – Keith Raniere advised the heiresses Bronfman to invest in the commodities futures market. He handled the trades and lost $65.6 million.
And they stuck with him. Ready to invest more.
An investigation is warranted into this matter.
It is unclear if the Northern District has any real interest in pursuing Raniere further.
So, I am conducting an investigation into this myself and have spoken to several parties who were involved in the trades at the time.
I have wondered about Barbara Bouchey, who has said she is not doing any more interviews about Nxivm with any media outlet – shortly after the conviction of Raniere. [Her appearance on E True Story was evidently filmed several months ago.]
I am curious if Barbara advised the Bronfmans, who were her financial planning clients, that Raniere had lost some $1.6 million [her life savings] in the commodities market prior to his beginning to trade with Bronfman money in commodities.
I do not know if it was her fiduciary responsibility to have told them. It may have been – to tell the sisters whose money she was ostensibly managing [actually Raniere was making all the decisions] – that before he starts using their money to trade in commodities, they should know that he lost her life savings doing the same thing.
Barbara may well have advised the two sisters something like this: “You might like to know that Keith Raniere took my life savings and lost it in commodities. He promised me I could not lose more than $25,000 but I lost $1.6 million. I decided to stay with him anyway for he is my boyfriend – but I thought you should know before you start investing exponential amounts of money in the same thing he lost my life savings in – commodities.”
It is quite possible that Bouchey did advise them of this – and the gullible sisters decided to give Raniere and Salzman the money anyway.
Perhaps Barbara can give us some insight into that period when she decides to come back and speak again to the media.