In a little less than three months, Clare Bronfman will be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in conjunction with her having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal and harbor an illegal immigrant for financial gain – and to fraudulently using another’s identity.
At the time she pleaded guilty to those two crimes, Bronfman was facing several much more serious charges.
Per the second superseding indictment in her case, Clare had been charged with the following crimes: Racketeering, Racketeering Conspiracy, and Conspiracy To Commit Identity Theft.
Had she been convicted on all those charges, Clare could have been facing as much as 45 years in prison: 20 years each for the Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy charges – and an additional 5 years for the Identity Theft charge.
But even if she were convicted on all of those charges, it is quite probable that, per the applicable Federal Sentencing Guidelines, her prison sentence would have been in the 33-41 month range.
So How Did Clare Come To Plead Guilty to Two Different Crimes?
Frank Report readers may wonder how it is that Bronfman ended up pleading guilty to two crimes that she had not previously been charged with.
It’s a little confusing but let me try to explain…
When federal prosecutors want to make a plea deal, they have all sorts of options.
Usually, the deal is pretty straight forward: if the defendant agrees to plead guilty to one or more of the pending charges against them, the feds will drop the others charges(That’s exactly the structure of the plea deals that the feds struck with Allison Mack, Lauren Salzman, and Nancy Salzman).
But in Bronfman’s case, the feds needed to be much more creative because they were much more interested in getting some of Clare’s money than ensuring that she spent an appropriate amount of time in prison for her NXIVM-related criminal activities.
So, here’s what they did.
First, they drew up a “superseding information” that consisted of the two charges to which Clare had agreed to plead guilty.
In this context, an “information” is a formal criminal charge that has not yet been presented to a grand jury. As such, it is usually used only when a defendant has agreed to plead guilty and has waived their Fifth Amendment right to be indicted by a grand jury.
So, in Clare’s case, a deal was worked out whereby she would agree to plead guilty to the two new charges in the “superseding information” – and the feds would agree to drop the pending charges against her.
Furthermore, per the terms of her plea deal, the feds have agreed that Clare’s offense level will be adjusted downward from 20 to 16 – which means that her prison sentence will be in the range of 21-27 months.
She will also be subject to a fine of $250,000 – and a special assessment of $100 – for each count. And she will also be subject to 3-years of probation following completion of her prison sentence.
Oh – and one other minor detail – Clare agreed to forfeit $6 million of her unearned/inherited money in lieu of having to forfeit any of her properties that were utilized in conjunction with NXIVM’s criminal activities.
So, aside from the little overview regarding criminal law, the lesson here is pretty clear: if you have enough money, you can buy the justice you want and avoid the justice you deserve.
How Much Time Will Clare Spend in Prison?
Let’s assume that Judge Garaufis sentences Clare to 27 months – which is the uppermost limit of her sentencing range (She can appeal any sentence over 27 months).
And let’s assume that Clare is a model prisoner – and doesn’t commit any serious violations while she’s incarcerated.
If those things hold true, then Clare will get about 4 months sliced off her sentence – which brings her down to 23 months.
In addition, Clare will also be eligible to serve a portion of her sentence under “home confinement” – which will be essentially the same as her current living arrangement.
She will likely get at least 6 months – and maybe as much as 12 months – of home confinement.
So, if she only gets 6 months, of home confinement, she will end up spending 17 months in federal prison.
And if she gets the full 12 months, that number will drop down to 11 months.
And if Judge Garaufis only sentences her to 21 months in prison, she could actually be incarcerated for less than 6 months.
How Much Time Should Clare Spend in Prison?
This is where things get really subjective.
Justice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
So, let me share with you what my eyes see in this case.
First, many of the criminal activities of the NXIVM crime syndicate would never have occurred if Clare hadn’t financed them (Example: It was Clare who provided the money that was used to hire Canaprobe to obtain financial and other personal information about various federal judges and other perceived enemies of the cult).
Second, Clare was an active participant in – and actually oversaw – many of NXIVM’s criminal activities (It was Clare who hired people like Steve Ose and Ben Meyers to hack into the computers of NXIVM’s enemies – and it was Clare who flew to Toronto, along with Pam Nichols, to pick up what turned out to be falsified records).
Third, Clare perjured herself on several occasions in order to help advance NXIVM’s interests (Example: Clare lied to the grand jury that indicted Frank Parlato, lied to the New York State Police regarding the alleged hacking of NXIVM’s website, lies to the Vancouver Police about Sarah Edmondson and Mark Vicente, etc.).
Fourth, Clare personally benefited from some of NXIVM’s criminal activities (Does anyone think that Sylvie or any of Clare’s other NXIVM lovers found her attractive and desirable?).
Fifth, Clare enjoyed punishing people – and destroying their lives via NXIVM’s patent-pending “terrorism by litigation” methodology.
So, how much prison time should this pathetic excuse for a human being actaully serve?
In my opinion, 30 years – or one year less than Raniere’s sentence – whichever is greater.
Just like Raniere, this inhumane, soulless, conscienceless bitch deserves to die in prison.
What Will Likely Happen?
Unfortunately, our criminal justice is far from perfect.
So, rather than being imprisoned until she’s 70 years old, Clare Bronfman will likely be out of prison when she is 42 or 43.
And then, she will use her wealth and power to persecute the people that she blames for ruining her life – and that of her Master, Keith Raniere.
People like Frank Parlato, Catherine Oxenberg, Sarah Edmondson – and anyone who testified as a witness for the prosecution in Keith Raniere’s trial.
That, unfortunately, is how I see this sad little tale turning out.
Unless, by some miracle, the new U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York actually brings appropriate criminal charges against Clare and the many others who aided and abetted Raniere and his codefendants in their massive criminality.
I don’t think that’s very likely – but, then again, I also buy Powerball tickets on occasion.
Hey, ya never know!