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 Sentencing Postponed

Getting sentenced is not easy for the Nxivm defendants.

Even Kathy Russell, the hapless bookkeeper of Nxivm, whose sentencing was scheduled for January 29th – has now had her sentencing postponed.

The new date, subject to the judge’s approval, will likely be April 21st.

A letter from her attorney tells the story:

Dear Judge Garaufis:

I write to respectfully request an adjournment of Kathy Russell’s sentencing, which is currently scheduled for January 29. This is Ms. Russell’s first request for such an adjournment.

This week, Probation indicated that it plans to issue the Presentence Investigation Report for Ms. Russell by the end of January and will contact the Court at that time to request a new date for sentencing.

I have conferred with AUSA Tanya Hajjar, and the parties jointly request that the Court adjourn Ms. Russell’s sentencing to April 21, 2020 or later.

I appreciate the Court’s consideration.

Respectfully submitted,
Justine A. Harris

****

Kathy’s Pre-Sentencing Report has not yet been filed, which means she has not seen it. Hopefully, for her sake, that what is likely to happen to Clare Bronfman – that she will get a longer sentence than her plea deal contemplated – does not happen to her.

As readers know, Judge Garaufis is “considering” handing Clare a longer sentence than her plea deal suggests  [i.e. 21-27 months] making Clare’s plea deal not worth the paper it was printed on.

Clare’s problem is not what was in the plea agreement, but what was not in it: a fixed sentence.

Clare signed a plea deal [as did Kathy and other Nxivm defendants other than Raniere, who was convicted at trial] that only gave an estimate of federal sentencing guidelines. It did not require the judge to stay within those estimates.

There is nothing in Clare’s plea deal that prevents the judge from sentencing Clare to the max sentence for her two felonies – if served consecutively, that would be 25 years.

What likely destroyed Clare’s chances of getting a sentence at or near her estimated sentencing guidelines was the presentencing report -which showed her in an extremely bad light.

The report recalculated her sentencing guidelines upward and was filled with dozens of pages of reports on alleged victims who made complaints about alleged crimes that were in addition to the crimes she had beden charged with and the ones she pleaded guilty to.

The same may be true of Kathy.

Allison Mack – no word on her sentencing date. Has she become a cooperating witness?

It is curious that no tentative sentencing dates have been set for Allison Mack, and Nancy and Lauren Salzman – which suggests they might be cooperating with the feds on new charges contemplated against a variety of Nxivm-related people.

It is protocol to delay the sentencing of cooperating witnesses until after the next trial in order to ensure the “right testimony.”

Of course, the lack of sentencing dates could merely be the result of bureaucratic delay.

Still, the three – Mack, Nancy, and Lauren – all condemned Raniere when they pleaded guilty. None of them have had sentencing dates.

Clare and Kathy were careful not to name Keith when they made their allocutions. It is believed that both remain loyal to their princely Vanguard. They and Raniere have had sentencing dates albeit postponed.

Hopefully, Kathy does not have a parade of people coming forward and claiming they are victims like Clare will.

For the most part, “Miss Kathy” [her nickname in Nximv] really was a hapless and low-paid bookkeeper, a woman who stayed for years. She joined in and eagerly arranged a lot of sex threesomes for Keith. She did what she was told.

Whether she was sneaking an illegal immigrant into the USA, like Dani, or lying on visa applications like she did for Loreta, or keeping a double set of books, or carrying cash to Nancy’s house or sneaking it across the Canadian border, or secretly renting an apartment under a fake name – so Raniere could have secret sex rendezvous with Cami and the virgins, or cleaning up his old sex lair after he enjoyed one or more of his nubile slaves,  she was there like a faithful old soldier for the great mission.

Loreta Garza, a first-line DOS slave. She was one of the lucky eight who were to join in the group recommitment [fellatio] ceremony and who would receive the holy white and sticky communion from their glorious lord. Sadly, the noble one was arrested before he could put forth his fount of glory.
 As readers know, Miss Kathy, 61, longed to be a professional ballerina. Raniere told her over the decades that if she just continued to be his servant slave and spend most of her salary on Nxivm classes and on EMs, she would soon get past her numerous disintegrations and become, in due time, a world-class prima donna.

Perhaps it did not happen, she could say to herself because Raniere was unfairly arrested.

MK10ART’s splendid interpretive painting of Kathy Russell leaving court.

Still, it was a sad sight to see Miss Kathy, well into her 50s, performing at amateur recitals with little girls in the Saratoga ballet school. She would be onstage with fellow students, girls aged 5-12, performing before an audience of parents, she being older than most parents and some of the grandparents.

But she believed in Raniere. She knew that if she cleaned enough cum off his sheets and wiped the stink and scum off the walls of his hot tub – that someday her disintegrations would disappear and the magic would happen.  Suddenly the world’s oldest prima donna would emerge and thousands would flock to see her do marvelous grande jetés or pirouettes and applaud her robustly.

And she would know in her heart as she received her applause that they were not applauding her – they were, in reality, applauding Vanguard.

Kathy would clean up the hair – chest and pubic – from the bed of her lordly genius and great hero, Keith Alan Raniere.

On Good Friday, April 19, 2019, Kathy Russell pleaded guilty to a single felony that she 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.”

In short, she lied to the government to get one of Raniere’s fuck toys – Loreta Garza – into the USA from Mexico.

It was not Kathy who wanted Loreta here. It was Keith. But it was Kathy, not Keith, who signed the false documents.

As the government explained it –“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… a letter dated February 15th, 2014, which contained statements regarding the visa applicant’s job description and salary that were false.”

She lied about Loreta’s job, which allowed her to run the cruel childhood experiment called Rainbow Cultural Garden in the USA.

As Kathy explained it in court. “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.

“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 judge explained to Kathy, the penalties for her crime.

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.

***

He also warned her about sentencing, much like he did with Clare Bronfman –  that she could do 10 years.

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.

***

Kathy Russell – her government picture.

So Kathy signed a worthless plea deal. She might have gotten a fixed sentence plea deal, but she did not.

A fixed sentence plea deal is a “take it or leave it” deal. If the judge accepts it, the defendant cannot be sentenced to more than the max sentence in the plea deal. If the judge rejects it, the defendant goes to trial.

This is what Joe O’Hara did. He knew his judge was gunning for him – an unfair and biased judge who had a reputation for preferring plea deals over trials. So Joe  – basically operating as his own attorney – offered the prosecution a simple plea deal. His deal required the judge to agree not to sentence him to more than three years. The judge did not have to accept it. He could reject it and Joe would go to trial. But he did accept it [Joe was innocent – but with a biased judge, it makes it impossible to win despite being innocent in federal court – where jurors are usually intimidated and fearful not to side with the prosecution. Without a fair judge, a defendant does not have a chance, no matter how innocent.]

So Joe got three years. Period.

Clare and Kathy signed an open-ended plea deal instead of a fixed one – despite being represented by high-priced lawyers.  Both defendants left the sentence entirely up to the judge.

Because of the lack of due process in the federal system, the judge may sentence someone to a much longer term, even taking into consideration alleged victims of alleged crimes that were never proven in court.

It is a shocking and monstrous departure from due process. But in fairness to the judge in this case – he gave Kathy a total and fair warning.  The only thing he told her [and Clare] he would not do is sentence them to a sentence beyond the maximum sentence – which in Kathy’s case is 10 years and Clare’s, 25 years.

On the surface, the plea deals sounded pretty good – Kathy was getting between 6- 18 months and Clare, 21-27 months.

But as they have now found out, it was all make-believe – and they still don’t know what they will get.

Amazingly, alleged victims who were not victims of the crimes the women pleaded guilty to will be able to come forward and without due process – without being cross examined – be allowed to relate anything they want – and anonymously too .

The judge can decide that this alleged criminality should lengthen the sentences.

This spits in the eye of due process.

Suppose, for example, someone like Toni Natalie – a woman who would wither under cross-examination based on her many provable lies – just gets up and makes up shit about Kathy?

Nobody will be able to cross-examine her. Toni might do that just to make a show.

If she is persuasive [and she can be a persuasive liar], she may add years to Kathy’s sentence without a shred of evidence – and without any due process.

I don’t think it’s fair. But don’rt blame the judge. He explained that was the deal.

The worthless plea deal their lawyers got for them.

And, again, I am not siding against the alleged victims. I think most are going to tell the truth. What I am against is this abhorrent lack of due process where alleged victims can testify at sentencing without being cross-examined.

It’s not due process. It’s not part of innocent until proven guilty.

Sure, Clare is a monster. But Kathy really isn’t. But even Clare should have due process. She should not be sentenced – or have her sentence increased beyond what it would have been for the crimes she pleaded guilty to – simply because the judge can take into consideration alleged victims of other crimes that have not been proven.

Still, that was the deal they agreed to.

The judge gave then fair warning again and again. Here is what he said to Kathy:

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 judge also advised her about the importance of the presentencing report that it could upend anything she thought was a likely sentence.

THE COURT: 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.

It’s sad that Kathy got caught up in this case when so many larger criminals [think Sara Bronfman] were not charged.

William Fanciullo, Kathy’s original Bronfman-paid lawyer.
But Kathy had incredibly poor legal representation.

She went into the grand jury and instead of “taking the 5th” on all questions – or instead cooperating with the feds and telling all she knew [which would have guaranteed her immunity] – she chose to pick and choose which questions she pleaded the 5th to and which she answered.

It set her up to be indicted – and she was indicted.

Poor dumb ballerina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Report’s founder and lead writer Frank Parlato is one of the internet’s most acclaimed 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.

19 Comments

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  • I think Russell, along with all the Nxvim defendants, is very good at playing the victim in this. They are expert manipulators and are very skilled at showing the outside only what they want them to see.

  • “Still, the three – Mack, Nancy, and Lauren – all condemned Raniere when they pleaded guilty. None of them have had sentencing dates.”
    I’m pretty sure that Nancy had a sentencing date (June 2019, after trial)… I think Lauren had one too (September 2019)…but Allison, indeed, never had a sentencing date.

    But I doubt it’s for a new second trial that their dates are postponed… I doubt a second trial will ever happen…it’s likely for the appeal that Mr. Dickhead (understand Raniere) is planning.

  • Russell’s lawyers will have the opportunity to object to the written accusations prior to the sentencing hearing. If the witnesses go too far off their written testimony, then the judge may not consider their input. A convicted felon is not entitled to the same due process rights as a person who has not yet been convicted. The NXIVM 6 lawyers probably tried to get better deals, but the prosecution didn’t agree, so they got the best they could get. They did the best they could, given the overwhelming evidence against them. That’s why they made the bad deals rather than going to trial, where it would have been even worse. I don’t see any problems with this situation. At all.

  • Frank, why do you keep saying Joe O’Hara was not guilty ?? The “El Paso” school district case saw numerous people convicted and sent to prison, including a prominent lawyer, superintendent of schools, etc. Joe was not the target, he got caught up in this case by his own emails, etc when the Feds were going through another defendant’s papers, etc. that they had seized.

    • I think if you look at the case – you will see that that was exactly what happened: he was “caught up”. He happened to do some business and the insanely wide net “caught him.”

      But he did not do anything wrong. He made a political donation – which businesses do – for $5,000. It was by check. He was not trying to hide it. His company had gotten some previous business from the district. So the government – which was bringing charges against dozens of people – the guilty and innocent alike – decided to charge him too. The complaining witness in Joe’s case just happened to be the local contractor that Joe’s company had beaten out in a competitively bid procurement.

      They had it ass-backward. They said he was bribing a certain official with a contribution of $5,000 [in a check]. But you don’t bribe people with checks. You give them cash. He was making a legal contribution. But the government ascribed an illegal motive to what he did. The real problem with their case was that Joe’s company had already gotten legitimate work from the district BEFORE not AFTER Joe made the legal contribution.

      Bribes usually occur before someone gets work.

      Now, Joe was out of money because of the Nxivm litigation. He was trying to build a new and good business in El Paso. There was corruption – but he did not participate in it.

      But you’re right – the overbroad wide reckless net of the feds caught him and they honestly did not care if he was innocent or not.

        • He has explained it to me and knowing how the federal system works, I now know how innocent people get indicted and then how hard it is to get extricated. It is one of the great blots of America that Blackstone’s Rule is now reversed. Blackstone’s rule is, “Tis better that 10 guilty ones go free than one innocent suffer.” The Orwellian named Department of Justice operates on the very real method if “‘Tis better than 10 innocent people get indicted [convicted] rather than lose one conviction stat.”

    • Anonymous,

      “He (Joe O’Hara) made a political donation – which businesses do – for $5,000. It was by check.”

      Anonymous, try and find another prosecution like Joe O’Hara’s prosecution. Good luck!

      He was railroaded.

  • Shadow, if you could meet me in Clifton Park at the Smaltz Brewery, I could probably hook you up with Kathy. She could probably tell you a lot about Allie and KK and Nicki and India. There is a Red Roof Inn nearby. It would be your best chance to share in the life of those you lust after.

    • After all that I have read about Saratoga County and its denizens, I have no desire to visit.
      If I ever did visit it would not be to a brewery but to the Battlefield where the Battle of Saratoga was fought in 1777.

        • I suppose that being a NXian you have no interest in history.

          The Battle of Saratoga was famous because it told the world that America was a country to reckon with.

          After the Battle of Saratoga, France decided to support the young nation against the global British power.

          Saratoga was the most important battle of the American Revolution.

  • Examine the nature of NXIVM.
    NXIVM is a multi-year, multi-national criminal organization.

    Estimates are that anywhere from 100 to 150 women were in NXIVM DOS.
    These women had to submit fresh blackmail material to the gang every month.
    Last month’s nudie pictures would not do.
    It would have to be fresh nudie pictures for fresh blackmail.
    NXIVM DOS was industrial-scale blackmail and extortion.

    The blackmail was collected by Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman.
    Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman then uploaded the blackmail material to the internet.
    The blackmail was managed by Clare Bronfman.
    And it was all done on the orders of Keith Raniere.

    Because the blackmail is in the form of digital files, it is extremely easy to duplicate and transmit to anywhere in the world.
    There were rumors that NXIVM had established websites to display the blackmail information.
    That was one factor in the Federal government moving to shut down NXIVM quickly.

    The women in NXIVM DOS have requested that the blackmail material be returned to them.
    For the rest of their lives, these women will be vulnerable to blackmail and extortion.
    NXIVM’S BLACKMAIL SCHEME IS AN ONGOING CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY UNTIL ALL OF THE BLACKMAIL MATERIAL IS RETURNED.

    A little known story from early Hollywood is how the actress Joan Crawford, who starred in Stag Films in her early Hollywood career, was repeatedly blackmailed over the pictures.

    “Joan Crawford’s porn films: How star was TWICE blackmailed by brother who threatened to leak her early stag movies as ‘Feud’ recounts Hollywood scandal around the first celebrity sex tape”
    Joan Crawford starred in multiple stag films prior to her days as a star according to multiple biographers, including ‘Velvet Lips’ and ‘The Casting Couch’
    Twice in her life, an individual was paid off to stop them from leaking these porn movies to members of the press, with her brother believed to be the informant
    On the new episode of ‘Feud,’ Crawford pays off brother Hal LeSueur after he threatens to leak a tape just days before his death in 1963
    The threats, however, came in the late 1920s and again in 1935, with MGM once paying $100,000 to stop the release of the picture
    In ‘The Casting Couch,’ Crawford is reportedly seen performing a sex act on a producer before jumping on his couch nude and engaging in another sex act
    Crawford denied ever appearing in an indecent film in her 1962 memoir, but her first husband Douglas Fairbanks Jr. claims she told him about the pictures
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4397748/Joan-Crawford-porn-films-brother-threatened-leak.html

    MGM paid at least 100,000 dollars in 1920s money (One million dollars in today’s money) to block release of the stag films starring Joan Crawford.

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and more.

Frank Parlato was the lead investigator and coordinating producer of Investigation Discovery's 2 hour blockbuster special 'The Lost Women of NXIVM.'

Frank Report is dedicated to Frank's investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth.

Read more about Frank Report's mission.

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