The sentencing hearing of Clare Webb Bronfman took place on September 30, 2020. It lasted four and one-half hours.
The first half featured about 90 minutes of victim statements – from nine victims. After that, there was a recess and then the court resumed with arguments from the prosecution and the defense and then a statement from Clare herself.
It ended with her sentencing and the surprising sentence of 81 months.
Frank Report has been publishing the full statements of the nine women who spoke as victims.
We have published the statements of the first seven.
- Sarah Edmondson appeared by video: here.
- Ivy Nevares appeared by video: here.
- Jane Doe 14, a DOS slave, appeared by video: here.
- Jane Doe 12, appeared live: here.
- Toni Natalie appeared live: here
- Sally Brink appeared live: here
- Susan Dones appeared live here
The eighth woman to speak was Barbara Bouchey. She spoke live in the courtroom.
Bouchey was a girlfriend of Keith Alan Raniere, the leader of Nxivm. She was with him from around 2000 to 2008 as a lover of his and a teacher in Nxivm. She had a green sash. She also managed some of Clare and Sara Bronfman’s wealth. Bouchey was a successful financial planner prior to joining Nxivm, which was then known as Executive Success Programs.
Around 2008, Bouchey had become disenchanted with Raniere and stop having intimate relations with him yet remained in Nxivm because she believed that the teachings were good. By 2009, she decided to leave Nxivm altogether and, along with Susan Dones and seven other women, she left. At the time she left, she sent a letter to Raniere and Nancy Salzman asking for money she claimed was due to her. She said she would go to the media to tell her story if she did not get what was due to her – about $2 million. Most of the money was what she had provided to Keith to cover his losses in the commodities market. Barbara claimed it was a loan. Keith said he thought it was a gift.
Barbara did not get her money. Keith, in turn, set Clare Bronfman to work on getting Barbara indicted for extortion. No DA was willing to charge Bouchey. After that, Clare and Sara sued Barbara in a number of venues for various alleged malfeasances in connection with her management of their money – and sought to have her financial management license from FINRA taken away. They were unsuccessful but they were – through the onslaught of litigation – able to bankrupt her. Finally, they got her indicted on a computer trespassing charge, for her one time use of a password of a fellow Nxivm friend, another former lover of Raniere. She was arrested on Christmas Eve and she defended herself successfully on the charges. They were dropped finally after it was discovered that Clare Bronfman likely perjured herself about the location of the computer servers.
In short, Barbara Bouchey left Raniere – and Clare and Sara Bronfman used their millions to go after her for years.
Barbara was evidently nervous in the courtroom last week. At first, she spoke so rapidly that it was hard to understand everything she said. Even after she was asked by the judge to slow down, she still spoke fast – so much so that she delivered a statement of more than 2000 words in 10 minutes time – almost double the length of Sally Brink’s statement – made over approximately the same time.
Here is Barbara Bouchey’s statement. [My comments in bold and brackets.]
[Looking at Clare] Hi, Clare.
[Addressing the judge] Unlike Clare, I was not born into a life of privilege, power, wealth and prominence. Nor having the liberty to not finish high school or not go to college, because I inherited a fortune. Rather I grew up in a low-income housing project. We were poor.
My Mom died when I was eight. My father was a severe alcoholic. And I have two special needs brothers that he then put into institutions and forbid me to see. But being a very determined young woman, I disobeyed him and two years later, at the age of 11, we called a truce and negotiated with my father that I want to still see my two brothers he abandoned. And my father agreed as long as I never mentioned their names in this life again, which I vowed to do.
College was never mentioned in our household, nor even a dream. It wasn’t spoken about in the house. My only aspiration was to be a secretary and a really good secretary. It wasn’t until somewhere in my early 20s that I stopped one day and thought, I can be more than this, I can be more than a secretary. And that’s when I started to wait tables 40 hours a week and I put myself through college.
At the age of 24, I began my career in the financial planning industry. And through hard work, I built a reputation of being honest, responsible, ethical and integrous. And by the age of 40, I had become a self-made millionaire, generated $1 million a year in annual renewable fees, had a net worth of $5 million, was a leader respected by my peers, and a pillar of my community.
And yet, still only owned one pair of black shoes and blue shoes and wore Ann Taylor suits. Because, instead of spending my money on things that were frivolous, I gave it instead to help others and I prudently saved my money. Here is a snapshot of my life, Clare, that you may not be aware of.
Within the 12 months before entering Nxivm, I was featured as a keynote speaker for the Women’s Leadership Forum. I co-chaired an event with Marylou Whitney Vanderbilt. I was quoted in the newspapers constantly about the market. My annual —
THE COURT: Excuse me, please slow down a little. I want to absorb your words.
BOUCHEY: I’m just nervous.
THE COURT: Take a deep breath and slow down.
BOUCHEY: My annual client parties, my Christmas party, and believe it or not the opening day of the Saratoga race track party was the biggest event at my office. All this from a girl that I call came up from white trailer trash, the wrong side of the tracks. And there I was, 40 years old, having achieved what they would call the American Dream and I beat all the odds.
Here is a snapshot of my life now, after leaving Nxivm:
I have been smeared by Keith Raniere who very carefully two years before I quit and after the behind scenes smear campaign because I broke off my intimate relationship with him, and then [he] lied to you [Clare] and everybody else that I had some big ethical breach. And then when I left, he then falsely told you and other people that $1.7 million of my life savings that he actually owed me and [which] Nancy, and [Keith] vowed to pay me every year, and every year they made an excuse. [The money was lost, Barbara said, by Keith in the commodities market. She claims he told she would not have more than $50,000 at risk and, hence, she claims he defrauded her.]
And then guilted me and shamed me, and said “You’re just so selfish, you must have an attachment to money, how much money do you need to make, you’re still making a million a year.” They wouldn’t pay me back. Because I needed to sacrifice for you and the community. And I didn’t have millions, but what I had, I gave.
And then I had to suffer being trying to be arrested for extortion. You [Clare] say that you never lied or that you’ve never wrongly accused anybody when this is the letter that proved the first lie that you told.
You went to my hometown district attorney [Saratoga County DA] and told them that you fired me as your adviser for ethical violations. And that I then tried to extort $2 million from you in revenge and retaliation, saying that you’re on the [Nxivm] executive board and you got my letter [asking for the money back] that only went to Keith and Nancy, asking them to pay me back my $1.7 million that they rightfully owed me.
And here is the proof. This is a Nxivm communication dated May 10,  two weeks after I left, where you were appointed to the board and strategically did so that you can go then go to Saratoga DA and tell them that you were on the board and you got this letter.
But you never got that letter. And this letter launched a thousand court filings. From this letter, you then sued me three times in two different states. You launched a year-long investigation on my financial planning board accused me of twenty-nine salacious lies, including that I was a commodities broker for an account you never had, and lent money to Keith. [Clare made the claim that Barbara lost the commodities money that Keith lost.]
And I never traded commodities in my entire lifetime.
And so my life after this is I have been headline news. I’ve been dragged into 14 lawsuits that lasted eight years, in front of eight judges, in four states. My legal fees have been $700,000.
Because I’m a local town girl, prominent businesswoman in Albany where the [Nxivm] local headquarters was, I endured hundreds of headline news stories that all portrayed me as the evil banker from the dark side. That I must be corrupt because I was a financial planner, and I must have been Nxivm’s financial director, which I was never allowed in the accounting office.
And I have been ridiculed and shunned. And after six years of this nonstop headline news, I lost two-thirds of my clients, millions in revenues, and my reputation was totally destroyed.
The one thing you need as a financial adviser is trust. My integrity and my character were assassinated for years in hundreds of headline news stories. And I was innocent. And I was the one that was being accused of having done wrongs to you and to Nxivm.
And all I did was decide to breakup with Keith Raniere, get punished, then leave and try to tell people, and just tell the truth. And this is what I have endured.
It is has been 4,197 days that my character has been assassinated every single day. I can’t get new clients. If you Google me, the top three stories that come up are ‘Local Financial Planner Arrested for Felony’ for a criminal complaint that you [Clare] signed.
You had me arrested wrongfully. You had my passport removed for an entire year. I was handcuffed on Christmas Eve and arraigned. It was the scariest, worst day of my life. And the Times Union ran a Sunday front-page news that I was a criminal.
When your lawsuits against me that were [costing me] $50,000 a month, I filed Chapter 11, not at a rate of paying anybody, I filed 100 percent repayment plan on Chapter 11. And that was Sunday front-page news, news “Local Financial Planner Files Bankruptcy.”
And then when you sued me, because you’re Seagram’s heiress, for ethical, alleged, ethical violations, that was Friday night headline news.
How does a financial planner of my caliber survive, ever, with that kind of headline news? I can’t tell you how humiliating and ashamed and degraded I felt with those just three headline news.
And yet I was innocent. And you want to know how I’m innocent? My financial planning board [FINRA] that you brought a complaint to, had eight financial planners who were also attorneys. And they scoured my records for an entire year, and they know what they are looking for. And by a preponderance of the evidence that I provided and proved, they closed that case against me. I was innocent, but it didn’t stop. I don’t have time to read everything [of her pages of prepared notes], so I’m just going to skip to the last page.
How do you encompass 20 years of abuse and 11 years that you have funded lawsuits against me that are still going on to this day? You reached out a mere three weeks ago.
I, like Susan [Dones], read your character reference [some 66 letters written in support of Clare Bronfman filed with the court] because I want to know more about the person that you are, so that I can craft my statement.
I have a letter — I’m so nervous — I have a letter here that you submitted, a letter of your attorney. And in this letter, a mere three weeks ago, you allowed your attorney [Bill Savino] to falsely accuse me, defame me, and slander me. And the entire world is devouring your court filings.
You’ve been under house arrest for two years, and yet, you have not stopped. You have not stopped damaging me. When I read this [letter of support from Clare’s attorney Savino where he refers, without evidence, to criminal conduct by Barbara ] I was immediately terrified. Will you never stop? Is it not bad enough that my damage is submitted in this courtroom was $14 million, 14 million?
How is it possible that I’m the one that you sued more than anyone else, for longer, was more publicly humiliated and headline news than anybody else? And suffered $14 million, which may be more than anybody else. And yet I’m not viewed as a victim. I’m called a bitch, a whore, a prostitute, an evil banker, a corrupt financial planner. And yet, I’m innocent.
I can’t even begin to tell you what I want. What I want, Clare, is my reputation. I want my reputation. For decades, it was unblemished and impeccable and held in high regard in my industry. A leader, a pioneer, a pillar of my community. And I’m still that person that earned that at age 40 to stand next to Marylou Whitney Vanderbilt and co-chair an event. Yes, me, from Bristol Heights, the income housing projects. I earned and deserve everything that I did. I didn’t inherit my wealth or my achievement.
I just want my reputation back. I want my good name back. And I want you to please stop, stop accusing me, slandering me, defaming me, even to this day.
And I would encourage you — your Honor — I want to stay something. Kristin [Keeffe], who just came in [Keeffe arrived late], had a profound effect on my life. Five years after I quit, she called me at 1:00 o’clock in the morning. And I thought, “Oh, my God, she’s playing a double agent.”
Because she was cleared and Nxivm’s legal liaison. And I thought, “Holy crap.”
She said to me, “I left.”
And that I said to her, “Aren’t you afraid to call me? Everybody is terrified to be me and talk to me.”
And she said, “No , because I know the truth. And I never once saw you do one thing in all of those years that I questioned.”
Clare, do you realize that they lied to you?
Kristen [said] “They told me Barb, from the day you walked through the door, Keith pitted us against you. He knowingly directed us to lie to you, conspire to conceal things. You thought you were in the inner circle You were six layers out, because that’s what we wanted you to think.”
It– Your Honor, I believe that there are some of us, like Kristen did for me that fateful night — and it was painful to hear, you know, he labeled me mentally retarded because I have two special needs brothers and not to pay attention to me, because I, too, was mentally retarded.
You know, there are things that Clare has no idea that Keith said and did to her behind her back, and there are some of us, not many, me, Kristin, Karen U., there’s a number of us that could share with you what we know was kept from you that you don’t know about, that he used you; he conned you; he manipulated you; he made you feel special just like he did to me, just like he did to Kristin. It’s the same playbook you used, just words, just played on you.
You just haven’t had that defining moment that I did yet. That’s all. But I know you’re a good person. As your financial advisor for a brief time, I saw the goodness in your heart.
I know you wanted to be a humanitarian. I know, and I helped teach you how to spend your money and be responsible and how not to feel guilty and ashamed of it and to be proud that you had the opportunity to be a true humanitarian. And I know that resides deep within you. And you could truly be that and go on to do more of that.
THE COURT: Ms. Bouchey?
THE COURT: Time’s up.
BOUCHEY: Thank you. So I will be praying for you, Clare. I know, I know you can do this. You can.
THE COURT: Thank you.