The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is recommending a five-year sentence for Clare Webb Bronfman, the Seagram’s heiress who funded and led the Nxivm racketeering enterprise.
This is in stark contrast to Bronfman’s attorneys who have recommended she receive 3-years of probation.
It is now up to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, who is set to sentence Bronfman on Sept. 30.
Based on her original plea agreement, the estimated sentencing guidelines were from 21-27 months, but the judge has already indicated he is considering an upward departure.
Bronfman pleaded guilty to both counts of a two-count Superseding Information. Count One charged that between October 2015 and January 2018, Bronfman, together with others, conspired to conceal, harbor and shield from detection one or more aliens for financial gain.
Count Two charged that between November 2016 and March 2018, Bronfman, together with others, unlawfully
transferred and used a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit and in connection with attempted tax evasion.
The recommendation for five years is contained in the prosecution’s “Sentencing Memorandum” that was filed with the court today.
What the judge will do is anybody’s guess but, based on available evidence, the sinister and ruthless heiress is likely to get more than the probation her attorneys want, more than the 27 months her original plea deal estimated, and it would not surprise anyone if she got the full five years the government is recommending.
Of course, it is possible, but not likely, that the judge will sentence her to more than 5 years. She faces an absolute maximum sentence of 25 years.
In subsequent posts, we will review more details that have emerged in this “Sentencing Memorandum”, a document so long and thorough that it runs more than 20,000 words.
Here is the government’s “Preliminary Statement” from the document:
For over a decade, the defendant Clare Bronfman used her extraordinary wealth and social status to fund and promote a criminal enterprise led by her co-defendant Keith Raniere. She recruited individuals into Nxivm-affiliated organizations and brought them within Raniere’s orbit.
There can be little doubt that Raniere would not have been able to commit the crimes with which he was convicted were it not for powerful allies like Bronfman.
Bronfman spent millions of dollars of her inherited fortune on Raniere’s endeavors. She pursued Raniere’s accusers and critics by dispatching powerful teams of lawyers, private investigators and public relations firms to attempt to discredit them and dredge up information that could be used to undermine their claims.
Even now—after Raniere’s convictions for sex trafficking, forced labor, alien smuggling and child exploitation offenses — Bronfman continues to support Raniere.
Bronfman’s request for a non-custodial sentence of three years of probation ignores the seriousness of her crimes and the significant need for deterrence in the unique circumstances of this case.
The Court should reject Bronfman’s request for special treatment and instead impose a sentence that will demand respect for the law. For the reasons set forth below, the government respectfully submits that a substantial variance is appropriate in this case, and that the Court should sentence the defendant to a non-Guidelines sentence of 60 months’ imprisonment. The Court should also order payment of forfeiture, restitution, and a $500,000 fine.