Earlier this week, the EDNY prosecutors submitted a proposed “Restraining Order” to U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
If the judge signs it – which he is expected to do – Keith Raniere will be further cut off from the funds that he would otherwise inherit from the late Pamela Cafritz.
Rumors have circulated for several weeks that the Internal Revenue Service had already placed a lien on the same funds for what it anticipates to be a significant amount of income taxes that Raniere owes
This week’s filing is verifiable proof that the government intends to do all that it can to keep Raniere from getting any of Cafritz’s money.
Prior to her death, Cafritz established the Pamela Anne Cafritz Living Trust – and apparently named Raniere as its sole beneficiary.
At the time of her death, there was a reported $8-$9 million in the Trust.
In its most recent filing, the government noted that in conjunction with his sentencing on October 27th, Raniere was ordered to pay the following amounts: a $1,750,000 fine, a $700 Special Assessment, and a $15,000 assessment pursuant to the Victims of Trafficking Act 2015 (All of those funds will go to the government).
Per its proposed “Restraining Order,” the government is seeking to freeze Raniere’s interest in the Pamela Anne Cafritz Living Trust.
More specifically, the government is seeking to prevent Raniere and any other interested parties from doing anything that would cause any of the Trust’s assets to be removed from the jurisdiction of the Court or to be otherwise concealed.
It is also seeking to restrain any financial institution that has assets of the Trust in its custody, control or possession from conveying, disposing of, or transferring any of those assets – and/or from taking any offsets against them.
During Raniere’s October 27th sentencing hearing, Judge Garaufis set January 27, 2021 as the deadline by which all those who are seeking restitution from Raniere must file their claims.
Under 18 U.S.C. §3663, the Court may order convicted defendants to pay restitution to their victims.
For purposes of that section, the term victim means “a person directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of an offense for which restitution may be ordered including, in the case of an offense that involves as an element a scheme, conspiracy, or pattern of criminal activity, any person directly harmed by the defendant’s criminal conduct in the course of the scheme, conspiracy, or pattern”.
Given that Raniere was convicted of Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy, it would appear that anyone who was harmed as a direct result of their interaction with Raniere and/or NXIVM/ESP may be entitled to submit a claim against him (Those who were directly affected by his other crimes – such as the Sex Trafficking charge – will automatically qualify as victims).
Unlike Clare Bronfman – whose restitution obligations were limited to the two women that were harmed by the specific crimes to which she pleaded guilty (i.e., conspiracy to harbor an illegal immigrant for financial gain – and fraudulent use of another person’s identification) – Raniere may be subject to claims from a much broader group of victims.
In the end, however, it will be up to Judge Garaufis to determine who qualifies as a victim – and how much each victim is entitled to receive from Raniere. Any dispute as to the proper amount of restitution for a victim will be resolved by “a preponderance of the evidence” – which is the standard of proof in most civil cases.
Submitting a claim may be somewhat like buying a lottery ticket. But like the New York Lottery says “Ya never know”.
Although prosecutors encouraged certain people to submit claims against Clare, it is not known whether they will do the same with respect to Raniere.
Regardless, anyone who believes that they suffered harm as a direct result of Raniere’s criminal activities may submit a claim for restitution to the prosecutors (The prosecutors are responsible for demonstrating the amount of each victim’s loss).
The applicable mailing address for anyone who wishes to assert a claim for restitution is as follows:
Tanya Hajjar, Esq
Organized Crime and Gangs Section
U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York
271 Cadman Plaza East
Brooklyn, NY 11201
No Word Yet On Other Sentencing Hearings
Even though Judge Garaufis has twice indicated on the record that he wants to get the other defendants in Raniere’s case sentenced as soon as possible, no sentencing hearings had been scheduled as of 5:00 PM on November 12th for Allison Mack, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman or Kathy Russell.
With the oncoming holidays – and the very real possibility that public facilities such as the EDNY Courthouse may soon be closed again in response to the current spike in COVID-19 cases – it would seem like time may be running out for those sentencing hearings to be held this year.
From the defendants’ perspective, they would likely be happy to have those hearings put off as long as possible – especially after seeing the sentences that Judge Garaufis handed out to Raniere (120 years) and Bronfman (6.75 years).
Although there was originally a good deal of speculation that all the remaining defendants would get relatively light sentences, that is no longer the case.
Now, the speculation is that Allison Mack – who was vilified and scandalized throughout Raniere’s trial – could end up with a sentence similar to Bronfman.
Similarly, many now believe that Nancy Salzman will be sentenced to several years in prison even though she was the first of the defendants to plead guilty – and even though she is 65-years old and still battling cancer.
Lauren Salzman – who pleaded guilty to the same two charges as Allison Mack (Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy) – may still get a somewhat lesser sentence because of her cooperation with the prosecutors and her testimony during Raniere’s trial. But whereas it was originally thought that she might serve only 1-2 years, a sentence of 3-4 years now seems more likely.
Even hapless Kathy Russell – who only ended up being indicted because of the horrendous advice she received from her Bronfman-paid attorney – might end up serving some time in federal prison.
VIVA EXECUTIVE SUCCESS!