Did Raniere Lose or Steal $65.6 Million of Bronfman Money in Supposed Commodities Losses? – Did Nancy Salzman Help in a giant Swindle?

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.

  1. Raniere lost the Bronfman’s $65.6 million through a series of bad (unlucky) commodities trades.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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Keith Raniere AKA “The World’s Greatest Magician”. Give him your money – and he’ll make it disappear.

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.

Barbara Bouchey with Keith Raniere, her boyfriend who lost her life savings through blunders or swindles in the commodities market.

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.

About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Report’s founder and lead writer Frank Parlato is one of the internet’s most decorated investigative journalists. His writing and investigations have helped expose major criminal organizations and scandals.

Frank’s work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Rolling Stone, and more.

He is also the publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.

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  • One of the interesting issues this leaves is whether the money the Bronfmans provided to cover the commodities trading losses was essentially a gift – even if they were initially structured as loans, but then not repaid – and thus should have been declared as such for tax purposes, by whoever received it (it seems to have essentially been provided to Raniere, but put through a corporation controlled by Salzman).

    I did a quick search about the commodities issues to see what other sources of information there might be and found a fair bit of the documentation in Precision v. Plyam is available online, such as a declaration by Bouchey in which she refers to the Bronfman money as ‘ “loans” ‘ (in quotes in the original):

    http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/238697-bjb-declaration-plyam-precision.html

    She also notes that even as Raniere was continually losing money, he frequently made promises that “it would all come back” – classic problem gambler behavior.

    There’s also an article that reports this:

    ‘”It was very tight, tight constricted circle because what would the NXIVM community think if they found out that the leader of the mission was irresponsibly gambling millions and millions and millions of dollars and losing it?” Bouchey said in sworn testimony. “This would shake the confidence of many people. … It looked crazy. It was crazy.”

    Raniere told them the losses were due to outside forces out to foil him, such as Edgar Bronfman, the father of the sisters, Bouchey testified. Raniere, she said, chalked up the losses as a learning experience that could help with dealing with world markets.

    “Keith wanted to have our own country, our own currency and market, our own way of doing things,” she said. “So he needed to learn how the cheaters in the world markets worked.”‘

    https://culteducation.com/group/907-nxivm/6099-court-documents-claim-nxivm-is-a-cult.html

    • The $65 million of losses in the commodities market had to be treated, for tax purposes, as “capital losses” by First Principls, Inc. (The commodities account was held in that company’s name). So, except for being able to write off a paltry amount (around $3,000) as a loss each year, the rest of the losses sat in that company waiting to be used to offset future capital gains.

      As for the Bronfmans, classifying the $65 million as “loans” was fraudulent from the outset because they had no real expectation of ever being repaid. And when they eventually wrote them off as “bad debt”, they committed another tax fraud.

      • Claviger, it seems to me that in the case of the trading, First Principles was just being used as an alter ego (if I remember the correct legal categorization) of Raniere, who was dealing with Plyam directly and orchestrating the trades as if it was his own money, and then arranging for the “loans” from the Bronfmans as a personal favor, so I would think he might be liable for being held personally responsible.

        It also seems to me that what would be at the heart of the Bronfmans’ tax fraud, was that it was not a legitimate business deal but instead a personal favor to Raniere.

        I realize I may not understand the legal fine points involved, and also that regardless of what might hold up in a legal action, the IRS would presumably rather just assess the Bronfmans for fraud since they are the parties with money – if they do anything at all about matters now well in the past. But do we even know for certain that the Bronfmans wrote the loans off?

        • Here’s what we know:
          (1) The commodities trading account was set up in the name of First Principles, Inc. (FPI). This is account Raniere was using at the time he blew through the Bronfmans’ $65 million (It may also have been the account that he used when he blew through Barbara Bouchey’s money – and Michael Sutton’s money).

          (2) At the time, Nancy Salzman supposedly owned 100% of FPI. Now, Raniere is claiming that he owns 10% of the company – which is kind of pointless because even if that were true, the judge will likely order him to forfeit that 10% as part of the sentence he imposes on him next January.

          (3) FPI ended up with $65 million of capital losses from the Bronfman-funded trades that, for the most part, could only be used to offset future capital gains (As I recall, FPI could write off about $3,000 per year of those capital losses as operational losses – which means it would take about 1,000 years for all the capital losses to have been used up in that manner).

          (4) The Bronfmans “loaned” $65 million to Raniere or FPI to cover the latest losses. But since there was no reasonable way for them to think those funds would ever be paid back, the $65 million was really a “gift” — and subject to gift taxes that would have to be paid by the recipient.

          (5) IF – and it’s just an IF – the Bronfmans subsequently wrote off the loans as “bad debt” – which would help to reduce their own taxes – that would have constituted tax fraud.

          • Claviger, thanks for that summary of the facts.

            Even the way you put it, “The Bronfmans “loaned” $65 million to Raniere or FPI to cover the latest losses,” makes it seem likely that at least in this instance, the corporation was really just being used as a subterfuge for what were actually Raniere’s personal dealings.

            I suppose it remains to be seen whether anyone cares to really sort this out. It occurs to me that it’s also possible that the IRS might offer the Bronfmans a deal to settle all their possible outstanding tax issues, which could include this and who knows what else – probably for a large enough sum to cut even further into their remaining assets.

  • One of the first clues that Hillary Clinton is rotten. was her incredible history of profits in the commodities markets.
    Hillary Clinton “invested” 10,000 dollars in commodities and walked away with 100,000 dollars.

    How did she do it?
    Is Hillary Clinton a genius?
    No, Hillary Clinton is just corrupt.
    Hillary Clinton’s commodity broker assigned the wins to Hillary, who was wife of Governor Bill Clinton at the time.
    And the losses were assigned to other investors.

    Commodity broker “profits ” were used as a covert way to bribe the Clintons.

    “Hillary Clinton cattle futures controversy”

    “In 1978 and 1979, lawyer and First Lady of Arkansas Hillary Rodham Clinton engaged in a series of trades of cattle futures contracts. Her initial $1,000 investment had generated nearly $100,000 (equivalent to $345,208.62 in 2018),[1] when she stopped trading after ten months. In 1994, after Clinton had become First Lady of the United States, the trading became the subject of considerable controversy regarding the likelihood of such a spectacular rate of return, possible conflict of interest, and allegations of disguised bribery”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton_cattle_futures_controversy

    Hillary Clinton Turned $1,000 Into $99,540, White House Says
    https://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/30/us/hillary-clinton-turned-1000-into-99540-white-house-says.html

    • Still obsessed with off-topic things that happened 40 years ago? Or is the present too much of a challenge?

      We certainly see in the NXIVM case that smart people can do stupid things – Raniere and Unterreiner both graduated from RPI, Cafritz grew up in Washington power circles and went to Smith, plus a couple of others were not exactly dummies even if the Bronfman girls were. I’d think that would be obvious to you.

      And just as with the Bronfmans’ investment debacle, it’s hard to tell for certain what was going on. In the Clinton case the simplest explanation is that the trader was just trying to curry favor with Clinton by essentially cutting her a sweetheart deal, though her falling for that would not exactly put her in a good light, either.

      It’s also not as cut and dried as your selective citation of Wikipedia makes it sound – why did you leave this out?

      “By January 1979, Clinton was up $26,000;[5] but later, she would lose $16,000 in a single trade.[5] At one point she owed in excess of $100,000 to Refco as part of covering losses, but no margin calls were made by Refco against her.[5] Near the end of her trading, Blair correctly predicted a market downturn and sold short, giving her a $40,000 gain in one afternoon.[5] In July 1979,[2] once she became pregnant with Chelsea Clinton, “I lost my nerve for gambling [and] walked away from the table $100,000 ahead.”[4] She briefly traded sugar futures contracts and other non-cattle commodities in October 1979, but more conservatively, through Stephens Inc.”

      You’re cherry-picking there, a fallacy related to sharpshooting.

      Your Logical Fallacy Is: the texas sharpshooter

      You cherry-picked a data cluster to suit your argument, or found a pattern to fit a presumption.
      This ‘false cause’ fallacy is coined after a marksman shooting randomly at barns and then painting bullseye targets around the spot where the most bullet holes appear, making it appear as if he’s a really good shot. Clusters naturally appear by chance, but don’t necessarily indicate that there is a causal relationship.

      Example: The makers of Sugarette Candy Drinks point to research showing that of the five countries where Sugarette drinks sell the most units, three of them are in the top ten healthiest countries on Earth, therefore Sugarette drinks are healthy.

      https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/the-texas-sharpshooter

      • “Still obsessed with off-topic things that happened 40 years ago?”

        This story involves trading commodities, a difficult endeavor that usually ends in losses.
        Massive Losses.
        And this blog deals with a legal system that plays favorites.

        Joe Biden’s cocaine addicted son Hunter Biden received a 600 K per year job with Burisma, a Ukrainian oil and gas firm.
        Hunter Biden has no experience or training in the oil and gas field.
        In fact Hunter Biden was drummed out of the Navy Reserve for testing positive for using COCAINE.
        In the real world that do nothing over paid job would be regarded as a BRIBE.
        When President Donald Trump, as head of the Executive Branch, tries to investigate the circumstances of Hunter Biden’s bogus job, the Democrats try to turn Trump’s actions into a crime.

        Why are Hunter Biden and his father Creepy Uncle Joe Biden, so sacrosanct?

        “Biden’s son discharged from Navy after testing positive for cocaine”
        https://www.cnn.com/2014/10/16/politics/hunter-biden-discharged-from-navy/index.html

        • It’s cherry-picking for ideological purposes – much like the sort of thing that Raniere did in his “modules” when he wanted to indoctrinate people. He also promoted an us-against-them mentality and claimed that while his opponents were guilty of all manner of nefarious things, all claims of misdeeds against him and his followers were just the result of baseless attacks if not conspiracies – similar to the culty things extreme political partisans do.

          And the example you cite isn’t even among the largest or most interesting commodities frauds, if you want to talk about illustrative cases:

          The 10 Worst Trading Losses Of All Time
          https://www.businessinsider.com/the-worst-trading-losses-of-all-time-2012-6

          Also, as for cherry-picking, while Hunter Biden might indeed have been trying to leverage his relationships – I don’t know much about the specifics of the case – he actually has a pretty accomplished background that would qualify him to be on a corporate board, including having graduated from Yale Law school, and been appointed to the board of directors of a public corporation by the younger President Bush – or did you not bother to research any of that?

          Yes, unfortunately, there’s all too much trading on connections in our political system, by those on all sides; we could trade examples back and forth, which would really only make the point that no one has clean hands anyway, plus, of course, it would be off-topic here.

          But if you want to talk about “a legal system that plays favorites,” do you think, for instance, that those involved in the Trump Foundation illegalities and frauds should be prosecuted, rather than getting away with a white-collar cease-and-desist style slap on the wrist? At least one of those is a politician’s child who seems to be little more than one of those hangers-on, and who is the subject of several other investigations as well.

  • , “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 themrote, “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. ”

    I do believe he scammed them but would ask you to check with other finance people and traders about it being hard to believe. Commodities are probably the riskiest area of the legal market of them all. I’ve been told you can lose it all in the blink of an eye.

    • You can actually do more than “lose it all in the blink of an eye”. Unlike trading in stocks where the most you can lose is your initial investment, the losses in commodities trading are open-ended. That’s why a $50,000 “position” in a particular commodity can turn into a $100,000 loss or, in an extreme case, a $500,000 loss.

  • Another possibility is that Bronfmans themselves are involved in the dizziness
    and the losses. Tax evasion is a high good in NXIVM. And if Keith Raniere got
    the Bronfmans to participate in this fraud, Raniere would have the Bronfmans
    in his pocket, he would have leverage and blackmail to play them out in due
    course.

  • I cannot remember the dates the losses were made but there may still be some records available with a bit of digging around. I don’t think 2 is likely – that the father deliberately engineered the losses and I think the losses are more likely than hidden money as usually people with hidden money do sometimes use it although there are some real misers out there who live very frugally but have mililons. He didn’t lose £100m+ so isn’t on this list – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_trading_losses

    I just tried a data limited google search for the early days but did not find anythying although this Forbes article from 2003 is quite interesting ( but not about the commodity trades). https://www.forbes.com/forbes/2003/1013/088.html#40d8d8c81853

    • Thanks for doing a bit of a data dive.

      I recall seeing a reference that there had been some sort of regulatory warning about the size of Raniere’s positions, and if so that might have left a paper trail.

      But a quick check turns up this:

      “In early 2005, they began covering Raniere’s losses in the commodities market. According to Bouchey, Raniere believed that he had come up with a mathematical formula that would enable him to make a killing. He’d already lost nearly $7 million on his commodities bets several years before. But, according to a declaration by Yuri Plyam, Raniere’s Los Angeles–based commodities broker, with the Bronfmans on board he began to trade “with the same extreme pattern” except that the trading positions were much bigger.

      From January 2005 to late 2007, according to court filings, Raniere, trading through First Principles, a company registered in Nancy Salzman’s name, would lose close to $70 million—and the Bronfmans would cover $65.6 million of it. ”

      https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2010/11/bronfman-201011

      It sounds like he lost more than just the Bronfmans’ money, on more than one occasion – so that may have been what happened to any profits from NXIVM’s heyday.

      There’s also this piece by Claviger that explains the financial dealings in detail, but boils down to this:

      “The bottom line is that Raniere lost $1.2 million of Bouchey’s money, $5 million of Sutton’s money, and $65 million of the Bronfman sisters’ money because he had no idea what the fuck he was doing. It’s really as simple as that.”

      https://artvoice.com/2019/01/03/a-few-facts-about-the-commodities-trades-and-the-l-a-precision-development-project-and-raniere-owes-tens-of-millions-of-dollars-in-unpaid-taxes/

      The fact that this ended up being part of a lawsuit with the commodities broker Plyam, who was involved in the real estate deals, also makes it unlikely that there was any unaccounted for money.

      There’s also this account that details some earlier losses as well – Raniere starts to sound like a gambling addict who was always losing at the commodities market, and never learning his lesson but instead going back again and again with the typical delusional belief that he would somehow start coming out ahead:

      https://frankreport.com/2017/08/15/raniere-lost-70m-of-students-money-in-commodities-was-it-stupidity-or-fraud/

      And as Frank points out in that last piece, the guy who couldn’t stop losing millions at commodities trading, was someone who claimed to be one of the world’s top problem solvers!

      • When Raniere and Toni were together, they spent lots of time at the casinos. Both are addicts: Raniere to gambling and Toni to comped room.

        • I can’t forget the picture of the bloated, hairy Raniere reading a book on how to win gambling at casinos.

          If you did have a sure-fire means of winning at casinos (like counting cards), a few big, muscle-bound guys would quickly escort you out the door and tell you never to return.

          In the old days, they would give you a one way trip out into the desert.

          • You can read the cover of the book in some of the better photos. I tracked it down and wrote a comment about it the other day, based on what I could find about it.

            It talks about winning at games besides just blackjack and poker, the only two where a player can gain an actual advantage, through card counting, so it’s obviously gamblers’ delusion if not casino industry propaganda. In poker the ability to read facial and behavioral clues counts as well; interestingly, the author Maria Konnikova, who wrote the book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It (about scams, but very relevant to the psychology of cults as well) and learned a lot in the process of researching how to tell when people are lying (most of us think we are good at it but are actually not, which is why we fall for it), has gone on to a successful career as a professional poker player.

            Shadow, while you’re at the library, I’d highly recommend reading Konnikova; her book is very readable besides being well based in modern cognitive and behavioral research. She has a number of YouTube videos, including this one about her book:

          • To AnonyMaker:

            There is an old saying that “You “Can’t Cheat an Honest Man.”
            To a large degree this saying is true.
            Las Vegas and other types of gambling teach people that they can attain wealth without either hard work, sacrifice or risk.
            People forget that in gambling the odds always favor the house.
            The longer you play the games the more likely you are to lose.

            And every investment, no matter how “safe,” is a risk.

            Anyone who tells you that you can attain great wealth without any risk is lying to you.
            Short of being born wealthy that is a lie.
            I’ve actually seen a book titled “Wealth Without Risk.”

            Charles J. Givens

            “Charles J. Givens (February 5, 1941 – July 12, 1998) was a bestselling author of
            Wealth Without Risk”
            ” His organization collapsed after a number of lawsuits, and regulatory investigations of investments sold by Paris, central Florida radio personality Jack Dicks, and former vacuum cleaner salesman Charles C Smith Jr.”
            “Over his career Givens was the target of dozens of lawsuits and two court cases for defrauding customers, one in California and one in Florida. The California fraud case found that he had misled his customers by claiming that he had made his money using his financial strategies, rather than by selling his financial strategies, and he was ordered to refund $14.1 million to his customers.”
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_J._Givens

            This type of “Magical Thinking” only appeals to dunces like Keith Raniere.
            Unfortunately Raniere was able to find a posse of people, mainly women, who were addicted to the same type of thinking.
            And no matter how rich these people were, even if they already enjoyed Bronfman or Salinas levels of wealth, they always lusted after more wealth and more power.

          • This was interesting AM, it reminds me of a Blakean proverb from the Marriage Of Heaven And Hell:

            ‘Always be ready to speak your mind and a base man will avoid you’

            Confidence is the best defense against confidence tricksters.

        • Thanks for that bit of info.

          I found this description of Raniere’s commodities trading:

          “Sixty-five million dollars alone bankrolled what Ms. Bouchey and Mr. Raniere’s former commodities broker Yuri Plyam describe in court documents as a pathological day-trading addiction.”

          https://observer.com/2010/08/poor-little-rich-girls-the-ballad-of-sara-and-clare-bronfman/

          Raniere was also arguably a sex addict, and brought himself to ruin with that, too.

  • Whose name or names do you think could access offshore accounts, say for Raniere, right now? How do you imagine this could be worked? Excuse these naive questions, but doesn’t somebody usually still have to pay taxes on offshore accounts? Who is still working together and in how many factions? Certainly I don’t know enough about this topic to know where to begin. Hopefully more information is to come, especially from knowledgeable sources via commenters and more from Frank.

    If Nancy Salzman has money stashed, I keep thinking that she still has one daughter who seems Nxivm-infused and/or loyal to Nancy and able to maneuver on her behalf.

    Then Tekashi comes to mind, as the bird who sang as first of a pack. Like Nancy Salzman, the dowager queen of her first principles, sang first. (I’ve seen Getty Images of little Tekashi wearing his pink short shorts and pigtails and know who discovered him, home on the Grainge.) He looked as whored out as Nancy would’ve liked her products to be. But Tekashi could have been sharing his sweet nothings with feds for a long time. Undercover 69!

    I’ve been waiting for Mr. Parlato to use this exact artillery about Raniere and his Salzman hound dog. Looking forward to more bullet-dodging for Nancy Salzman, not to mention Clare Bronfman.

    Is it possible that the Bouchey lady has recovered her financial losses already one way or another and doesn’t want to be asked too many questions? Is that how the tech worked for her to find it still so praiseworthy?

    To me, the Bronfmans are still the most difficult opponents in this saga. There is just too much to dig up about them that Bronfmans don’t want exposed. In her position, Clare Bronfman might be viewed by others, even those related to her, as a liability. It’s a good thing she didn’t offend the Clintons or disrupt their affairs too much. She would’ve already had her soap opera ending.

    • The underlying question is how money would have been moved offshore after 9/11 to begin with, without the FBI being able to trace it; there are ways to do tricky things like swapping assets in this country for others overseas, but there is no sign Raniere or NXIVM were ever involved in the sort of big plays that would have required (like apartment and office buildings), plus that’s yet another thing the FBI would have found once they started looking. You are then right that there is still accountability for offshore money, though as the Panama Papers show, there’s quite a bit that can be done to hide funds once they are expatriated. But one of the risks of trying to really conceal money offshore, such as pretending it was lost in deals gone bad, is possibly losing control of it.

      And I just don’t see any sign that there’s money to theorize about. It also occurs to me that fiascos like the Los Angeles area real estate development deals, show that that Raniere and the Bronfmans were just prone to losing money in stupid ways.

      Given that the Bronfmans seem to still show signs of their ruthless bootlegger roots, I think that if there’s any threat to Clare, it would be that one of of her half-siblings or more distant relatives would tire of her dragging the family name through the mud, and she’d be a victim of the sort of convenient “accident” that used to sometimes befall mobsters (and now the Russian mafia), taking a spill off her balcony or getting hit by a speeding vehicle while crossing the street.

    • The advantages of offshore accounts are no/low taxes and ownership secrecy. This makes it easy to pay off those government officials. There is more transparency than there used to be, but it is far less than ideal.

    • Shivani,
      In the bogus commodity trades Clare and Sara are the clear victims.
      The two dunces lost 65 million dollars and the Los Angeles real estate recovered for them by Frank Parlato only amounts to about 26 million.
      So where is the other 39 million dollars?
      That’s a lot of loot.
      Off shore banks are always a possibility.
      But the US requires all US citizens to divulge any interests that have in off-shore financial accounts.
      And the US government has been cracking down on Swiss bankers who hide money from the US government.
      Secret Swiss bank accounts aren’t the safe haven they used to be.

      I suspect that Nancy’s eagerness to start up NXIVM again might be related to an effort to reach those stolen monies.
      Nancy and Lauren enjoyed tooling around in BMWs and going on huge shopping sprees.
      Nancy even considered Lauren to be a big spendthrift.

      I suspect that stolen money could be laundered through real estate purchases .
      Many of America’s largest cities have half empty condo towers purchased with stolen money from overseas.

      This PDF from the Albany Times Union lists and maps some 20 properties in Know Woods and Clifton Park which were owned by the members of NXIVM or the criminal gang itself.
      https://www.timesunion.com/file/461/2/4612-NXIVM%20homes.pdf

      • Thanks, and that does make sense as one way of moving some of the $$ around. Multiple distributions of funds needing to be hidden so if one concealment falls apart, possibly no one will notice other methods, arrangements have also been used.

        • Your Welcome.

          Shivani, commodities are one of the riskiest investments to make because many people trading in commodities do so on borrowed money or what they call trading on margin.
          If you ever have money to invest it is better to stick with Blue Chip stocks or mutual funds or Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
          It is best to never borrow money to play the securities or commodities markets.

          KR Claviger said it best up above:

          “K.R. Claviger
          October 11, 2019 at 4:07 pm
          You can actually do more than “lose it all in the blink of an eye”. Unlike trading in stocks where the most you can lose is your initial investment, the losses in commodities trading are open-ended. That’s why a $50,000 “position” in a particular commodity can turn into a $100,000 loss or, in an extreme case, a $500,000 loss.”

        • As noted in another comment, the commodities trading losses were an issue in a court case, so it’s highly unlikely that there were any significant hidden aspects about them. And there wasn’t enough real estate involved to allow for hiding 8-figure sums.

      • Actually, the figures given are $70 million of commodities losses of which the Bronfmans covered $65 million – which may indicate that Raniere lost some other money as well, perhaps whatever profits had been accumulated from NXIVM.

        The nearly $30 million in LA area real estate dealings was on top of that, but wasn’t all lost.

        The Albany-area real estate holdings were not nearly large enough to hide, nor mostly in the right time frames, to account for hiding money.

    • Bouchey more than recouped her losses with the fees she earned managing the Bronfman sisters’ money and her commissions from all the people she recruited into NXIVM. She doesn’t talk about those things because it ruins her victim narrative.

  • If he stole it, where is the money? And what was he planning to do with it? Raniere didn’t exactly live an opulent lifestyle, he was no Epstein. No mansions, no yacht, no fancy cars. Did he even own a car? He seemed perfectly content to sit on his ass in Nowheresville NY, in a tacky suburban townhouse, eating pizza and watching Star Trek reruns. Rainiere had no expensive tastes, hell he had no taste whatsoever. What would he do with $65m ?

    He lost it. Because he’s an ass. He thought he was smart but he wasn’t; he was the master of outsmarting himself. He made lousy investments, followed up with panicky worse investments. He was like a million boastful morons who lose their shirts and the baby’s college fund in Reno. A mark, a patsy, a born loser, a beta boi.

    Just look at the trail of evidence he left for the Feds. He thought he was smart, he thought he had everyone fooled. He was the fool. Leaves pictures of a naked underage girls on his computer for any inquisitive cop to find. Audio recordings of him and Mack plotting human branding sessions. What a dope.

    Rainiere was not a clever man. He was a small time grifter who got lucky when he met the Bronfman sisters. And then it all blew up in his face.

    He wasn’t smart enough to steal $65 million.

    • Maybe Nancy Salzman stole the Bronfman’s money for Keith Raniere, then got busy and neglected to mention it to him. Later, she might have felt too embarrassed to do anything but keep the millions for herself. She has that kind of face. She is likely to be smarter than him anyway. She had that kind of huge electronics nest at her private residence, too. Clare probably paid for all of it. Clare probably paid all of the expenses for her own fleecing. At least Sara Bronfman got a few good bangs for her bucks.

    • I think you’ve about nailed it.

      Scientology’s Hubbard was a certain type of wealth hoarder who just wants to have the money rather than necessarily enjoying the trappings of wealth – he died in a motor home, though a top of the line one – but there were still all sorts of paper trails, and testimony from defectors, making it abundantly clear that he had vast sums at his disposal even if he wasn’t obviously enjoying the benefits.

      Plus if Raniere been smart enough to calculatedly stash away a bunch of money, he’d have gone somewhere that had no extradition treaty with the US to enjoy it, not to Mexico. These sorts of people seem to almost always have a sort of gambler’s mentality that leaves them blind to considering the possibility of going bust and having to deal with the consequences of it, and so they almost never have a contingency plan – Robert Vesco in the 1970s is the most recent case I can think of, and even then he didn’t really pull it off and ended up dying in prison.

  • As for the three alternatives, I entirely discount the second alternative.
    That Edgar Bronfman rigged the commodity markets to deliberately swindle his daughters out of the money.

    Commodity markets are very hard to rig or corner.
    When the Hunt Brothers, oil billionaires from Texas, tried to corner the world’s silver market in 1980, they lost their shirts.

    “Silver Thursday
    Silver Thursday was an event that occurred in the United States silver commodity markets on Thursday, March 27, 1980, following the attempt by brothers Nelson Bunker Hunt, William Herbert Hunt and Lamar Hunt to corner the silver market. A subsequent steep fall in silver prices led to panic on commodity and futures exchanges.”

    “Aftermath
    The Hunts lost over a billion dollars through this incident.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Thursday

    That leaves alternatives Number One and Number Three.

    As for Number One, Commodities markets are very risky
    And many people, even in honest trades, lose lots of money in commodities.

    But I lean towards Number Three as the real explanation.

    Any time one engages in a financial investment — stocks, bonds, commodities — the broker is supposed to provide the customer with confirmation slips showing date and time, what was purchased, in what quantity and at what price.

    The lack of this kind of paperwork in these supposed trades points to some type of fraud perpetrated against the Bronfman sisters.

    It is my opinion that Nancy Salzman and Barb Bouchey helped Raniere swindle the Bronfman sisters out of their money in fraudulent commodity trades that probably never happened.
    In the Pantheon of NXIVM demons Nancy, Barb and Toni join the reprobate Raniere and his later demonic helpers Clare, Sara, Lauren and Allison.

  • Frank – thank you for looking into this and writing about it. I always assumed Keith stole the 65million, but it has oddly never appeared as a major topic. If Keith did it, and knew he’d only pocket 10%ish of the money, I’m on board with that angle. Stealing only a portion of Barbara’s Bouchey’s money also could have been his goal.

    Another topic that Frank has teased to be working on is the deaths of Pam Caftitz & Barbara Jeske. Killing them off just because they were aging out of his harem seems like a flimsy motive – especially, with Kathy Russells and others still hanging around. But, knowing Keith would get his pudgy paws on Pam and Barbara’s money makes for a better motive. While Pam’s inheritance and Barbara’s even smaller inheritance didn’t look big compared to the perceived access to the Bronfman money, I’m hoping Frank is beginning to expose a pattern of Keith swindling money. That poor college roommate only lost a measly 50K to the crook. He may have gotten off easy.

  • Nobody can lay out these facts better than Frank —whether he was there or not — though lucky for us he was and first-hand witnessed!

    I find it suspicious that so few of the media corps covering NXIVM seem interested in this major Bronfman grift — whether Raniere & Slutsman and whomever — Barbra Bouchey, namely — made off with cash that’s stashed somewhere or, more likely IMO, screwed the pooch and threw a real estate sham on top of the real stock market loss.

    There also a matter of what crooks were legally and/or financial representing the poor little heiresses as they went about doing Slutsman and Raniere’s bidding and misplacing $65M — Namely Steve Coffey ET AL.

    Doubtful Clare will ever wake up and smell it like it is — unless and until she’s looking at a much harsher sentence herself and after Sara, too, is charged — which could happen if they keep up with their present loyalties and delusions — like the lyin’ ass-drone Raniere clones they all are!

    • Heidi, unfortunately such angles aren’t of much interest to general audiences, and require the greatest amount of investigative drudgery to uncover, so I’m not surprised. I think we see here, for instance, that there are people who have seemingly boundless energy for spinning conspiracy theories, but can’t be bothered to really fact-check much less get down to the hard work of things like going through real estate records and corporation databases (I do a bit of both when it is particularly relevant to other points).

      I do hope that someone with the time and resources to do a thorough book on all the aspects of the case comes along. We can also hope that there will be some prosecutions and trials in Albany that get into various of the financial dealings, which would yield evidence about what happened with these financial matters.

      And I suspect that we will at least eventually see some IRS and Customs/DHS actions, but it may well be that those have yet to come about because agencies are still sorting through masses of evidence to figure out just what transpired.

  • Good questions – well worth asking, and hopefully getting more actual evidence about. At this point nothing can either be proven satisfactorily, or ruled out.

    However, I think the example of Bouchey points to the fact that Raniere was in fact recklessly losing large amounts of other peoples’ money – or else we (and she) should be asking if he might have squirreled some of that away, too. (She should have made sure to see the trading records – but then allowing a boyfriend to lose all her savings suggests she had pretty bad judgment, including when it came to financial matters)

    Also, weren’t there reports of financial authorities being concerned about the large positions in commodities that Raniere was taking? That is the sort of thing that happens when regulators notice someone engaged in trading with risk of major losses, and tends to indicate that he really did have large and exposed positions, thought it’s certainly not conclusive.

    One of the things that I also think we don’t know enough about, was Raniere’s penchant for gambling. He’s been described as a gambler, and pictured laying in bed reading a book about (supposedly) How To Win At Gambling*. Dani testified about day trading on laptops, which is a classic unwise gambit to essentially gamble away money. I suspect the real underlying story is that Raniere also lost whatever profits NXIVM might have made.

    And as with Salzman, if Raniere had a bunch of money stashed somewhere, I think the FBI would have found it – particularly amounts in the millions or tens of millions, and especially in an era of heightened financial controls due to the threat of money laundering and illicit transfers related to terrorism funding.

    * By Avery Cardoza. It looks to me like the typical sort of book that promotes the fantasy of gambling in Las Vegas; it claims to show “the absolute best way to win poker, blackjack, craps, slots, video poker, horseracing, bingo, and more.” when only poker and blackjack offer any possible way for those with exceptional abilities such as to count cards to even have a shot at coming out ahead (a few insiders with extensive connections may also beat the odds on horse racing).

  • Frank,

    I am glad you chose to reexamine the issue of the Bronfman millions in this latest article.

    In addition to the Bronfman money there is still a considerable amount of money missing and not reported to the IRS.
    *******

    Important:Alleged Nancy Salzman Betrayal

    Nancy Salzman, at the time of her arrest and the seizure of $500,000 at her residence by the FBI, had been demoted. Clare Bronfman had taken over administration of NXIVM.

    Why was Nancy Salzman entrusted with all that cash?

    Why was Nancy Salzman allowed to sytill help with the money laundering?

    Or had Nancy Salzman been “skimming” from NXIVM?

    Why Nancy Salzman was the first to flip?
    Maybe because the bridge was all ready burned?

    • I can’t wait to read about where all the 65 million dollars went to. They surely seized a lot of computers. Is there any update about the storage facility?

        • Agreed. Just from consistent undercurrents around the compatibility ratio between Nancy Salzman and Clare Bronfman, no love lost; no love ever between them to lose. I do think that Nancy Salzman (and obviously, Raniere, too) had been preparing to liberate the Bronfman contingent from as much $$$ as could be managed, as soon as Clare became involved with the group. Mercenary motives were simple to disguise via flattery and new age babble.

          Nancy Salzman and Raniere had that history together already. Also, I think that Raniere was willing to plan things more frankly with some of his cohorts than with others, whom he perceived as needing to be fooled, seasoned and inculcated more thoroughly.

          Both Pam Cafritz and Nancy Salzman seemed to me, at least, to be more cynical and willing to be less personally evasive about pimping and being acquisitive, whereas others needed more cajoling and/or deceptiveness to control them. No doubt Bronfman was seen mostly as an insecure woman with very invitingly deep pockets, as opposed to being any kind of a ” disciple.” It is amazing that she still seems to be so welded to her own mental incapacities, even now.

          In fact, that’s how come, often I wonder whether Clare Bronfman is concealing fury and laying in wait to wreak personal vengeance. We don’t know what is really driving her now.

          Just as one example of these dynamics, imagine how many of the women and teenage sexual partners of Raniere felt the need to swallow tons of hurt and rage between themselves, trying to jockey through all of that jackwad’s peregrinations.

          These situations would arouse so much envy, uncomfortableness – as well as the pervasive requirement to act as if Raniere’s demands were all so spiritually advanced and fine and dandy. All that seething over a man with zero integrity or conscience, while going hungry and feeling frustrated, pathetically hoping to be known as one of his pets.

          He told everyone individually how special she (or he) was to him and then just kept fucking them over, so to speak. No woman with a real sense of centeredness inside of herself would put up with this Raniere asshole or EVEN be attracted to him. He is that grotesque, and he had to find women who had the appropriate weaknesses for him to be able to influence and to command.

          It seems to me that, for a long time, he could be more unveiled about his more authentic motives, when he was talking with Nancy Salzman. Their background together could have been well established, prior to Clare’s joining. (?) It seems to me that quite a few inner core people saw Clare right away as a sucker good for fleecing.

          Perhaps as things got more screwy, and Clare made moves to usurp aspects of Nancy’s control, the underlying rancor and mutual suspicion has continued to escalate. So much could be underlaid with jealousies, resentments, trying to outdo one another, amongst the inner core.

          These competitive levels increase inevitably, when sexual and emotional attachments suffuse any “workplace” atmosphere.

          I recall starting a work position years ago, feeling that my job would be a paradise for me, only to discover how much all of my colleagues were immersed in old battles together, didn’t work well as a group and had little trust or respect for one another. Some of this could be repaired, but much of it would remain, like a contaminent. This negative undercurrent would have increased exponentially, had their sexuality been involved as a competitive factor.

          • Shivani:
            I believe you make a very good point about the competitiveness between Nancy Salzman and Clare Bronfman.
            Clare and Sara had to understand or at least suspect that the losses in commodity trading were really all a scam to separate them from their money.
            Somehow Raniere was able to convince these two dunces that their Jewish father had somehow rigged the world’s commodity markets against their investments.
            But as soon as the Bronfmans could they removed Nancy Salzman from control over the finances and put her on a budget.

            Most parents try to teach their children about how to manage money.
            Even wealthy parents like Edgar Bronfman, Senior and Charles Bronfman try to protect their children from the sharks in the world.
            Apparently Edgar Sr. was too busy politicking and hobnobbing with other influential people to take the time and trouble to warn his daughters to beware of the many sharks in the world.

            And somehow the Bronfman sisters, particularly Clare, could be manipulated into financing bogus lawsuits that were against their own best interests.
            Most business people try to earn profits from legitimate business ventures.
            Very few people can “sue” their way to wealth.
            Suing is always a last resort, not a first resort.
            When the court system functions honestly, which is all too rare, judges and prosecutors tend to frown on using the courts as a means of extortion.

            As for the young women who so slavishly followed Raniere and still do to this day, most young women even in this sexually liberated era expect some level of loyalty from their boyfriends and husbands.
            Very few women will accept a deal where the male can play the field while they must remain loyal.
            No matter how accepting women might appear to be of accepting polyamory and sister-wives it almost never works out.

            If women do accept Polyamory or an Open Marriage type relationship they expect the deal to work both ways.
            Both sides can play the field.

            My nephews are 18 years old and their girlfriends make it very clear that they expect some level of commitment and loyalty.
            Unfortunately the women of the Vow or NXIVM DOS were willing to accept far more infidelity than most young women.

            The best quote I’ve seen about Raniere is that he is “Aggressively Unimpressive.”
            Raniere is a shallow ignorant manipulative lazy man with no discernible talents except for finding and exploiting women with low self-esteem.
            In NXIVM Raniere hit the jackpot but was so lacking in self-control that he let the worst aspects of his personality take over.

            “Both Pam Cafritz and Nancy Salzman seemed to me, at least, to be more cynical and willing to be less personally evasive about pimping”

            I noticed how the women of NXIVM DOS knew about the pimping and even knew about the child molestation and were willing to deny it and even rationalize it.
            The closer they were to Raniere, the more evasive they were about the pedophilia and pimping.
            Then when the Federal prosecutors made it clear that they are willing to prosecute the child molestation charges these women quickly cut deals to save their own skins.
            If only these women had been more dedicated to protecting other women and girls long before it got to the point of a Federal prosecution.
            As soon as I read in the Frank Report that Raniere advocated sexual relations between twelve year old children and adults. I knew that Raniere was a pedophile or he wanted to be a pedophile.
            Why couldn’t the women of the Vow be more perceptive?

  • While Raniere may have stolen the money, it is well-known that it is easy to lose a lot of money trading commodities, as it is a highly leveraged market. My guess is Raniere’s massive ego got in the way and he thought he was smarter than he really is, which has been proven over and over again with other NXIVM issues.

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

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