Guest View: I Knew Raniere Pre-NXIVM – and I, for One, Am Glad He’s Stopped!

Keith Alan Raniere during his days front and center for Consumers' Buyline.

In 1990, Keith Raniere started a business called Consumers’ Buyline, a multilevel marketing company which offered an opportunity for members to purchase groceries and consumer goods at a discount and earn a commission by recruiting other members. CBI did not negotiate the discounts on products but sold memberships under an arrangement with a buying club called Purchase Power, which was owned independently, had been in business since 1964 and had established products-savings with vendors.

Raniere’s company expanded within a couple of years to have tens of thousands of members.  But like a meteor it rose quickly then crashed to earth. Raniere’s position is that “by standing up to some of the largest [retail] corporations in the United States, Consumers’ Buyline ruffled feathers and disrupted the hold these corporations had on the American consumer,” which resulted in “state investigations by several government entities, the expense of which served to strain the company economically.”

The investigations were in response to complaints in various states into the company’s multilevel marketing practices.

Raniere’s Pre-Sentence Investigation Report states that Consumers’ Buyline was shut down because of fraud. However, legally, there was actually never a finding of fraud nor an admission by anyone associated with the company that a fraud or other crime took place. The company however did agree to pay fines and to cease conducting business in a number of states to resolve the litigation.

On September 3, 1996, Raniere, Karen Unterreiner and Pamela Cafritz, each of whom had executive positions with the company, entered into a Consent Order and Judgment with the New York State Attorney General stipulating that the representatives of Consumers’ Buyline deny improper conduct and that no finding had been made of any such conduct, and that Consumers’ Buyline will pay the Attorney General $40,000 to resolve all claims.  Similar settlements were made with other states.

A woman, who is known to Frank Report and some of our readers for her previous comments, worked for Purchase Power and came in contact with Raniere during this period of his life, about eight years before he became Vanguard.   Here are some of her observations. She has asked that her name and her photograph not be used in this story.

By A Woman Who Knew Him Before He Was Vanguard

Keith Raniere said he has a plan to change the buying habits of the nation. 

He said, “I have a new idea. Something different. I have one of the world’s highest IQs. Trust me. I know how to make this work.”

And thus Keith Raniere seduced one of the country’s most ethical businessmen – a man once lauded by Ralph Nader.

Not me. I had an inborn distaste for multilevel marketing, with its false, evangelical fervor. But for a brief time I thought to myself, maybe this harmless looking young man and his friendly, attractive entourage might be on to something.

His buying club plan included members making money by recruiting other members for commissions.

Consumers Buyline ad

This was pre-Internet, pre-Facebook, and pre-fact check. Suddenly, we were all in.

So we drove, at various times, to Upstate New York and elsewhere, meeting, greeting, and glad-handing the connected people.

Keith Raniere with his hired spokesperson for a promotional video, Eddie Albert.

Everyone was swell and smiling, with high hopes for the future. What could go wrong? Our modest-sized buying club company had been successful and respected for decades.

We devoted ever more resources to serving our new mammoth client — Consumers’ Buyline.

Complaints rolled in, of double debiting and lack of response, but were dismissed by the client as easily explained and resolved.

Headquarters for Consumers’ Buyline in Clifton Park.
Consumers’ Buyline’s offices were on the second floor. This elevator was often used to bring people up to the office. 

In 1990, on assignment, I drove to Flintlock Lane as a company representative. It was undeniably benign and suburban. Welcomes all around. The home was opened to me even though I had said I ought to stay in a hotel.

Nancy spent a night at Flintlock Lane, Keith and Karen’s townhome.
The comfortable couch at Flintlock where Keith Raniere often spent reclining and solving serious business problems,

These were the nicest, most hospitable people you could imagine.

Keith smiling brightly. Pam and Karen – beautiful, accomplished and smart. I recall their long, luxurious hair and bright eyes shining with

Barbara Jeske, Karen U and Pamela Cafritz — were superb salespeople for Consumers’ Buyline and were part of Keith Raniere’s harem.

They seemed perfectly comfortable and content.

I slept uneasily upstairs (as a vendor who really should have been in a hotel). In the morning, they were all out running, presumably.

The house was silent. No indication of wrongdoing anywhere.

Our company’s General Manager grew enamored and star struck. At lunch in a fancy Austin hotel, he, a lawyer, and a CBI henchman asked if I would betray my generous mentor and cooperate with them to help wrest control of the company.

I said, No, and lunch was quickly done.

Then, suddenly, all eggs were in one, horrible basket with no way of turning back.

Click to access 1997-08-24-tu-consumers-buyline-of-clifton-park-was-forced-to-close-after-25-separate-investigations.pdf

Our smaller company predictably collapsed under the weight of CBI and its demands, and was sold off in short order.

The Guru moved on to the next endeavor without a care or a thought. National Health Network, ESP, and on and on.

I often wonder what the lovely, intelligent women in his orbit got out of the whole thing.

Certainly not luxury, ease, or fidelity in any meaningful sense of those terms.

These things are not traditional crimes. Much of it smacks of manipulation, and harassment. Does Keith Raniere deserve to be imprisoned?

I cannot say, though the RICO charges seem sound to me. I believe the relentless, vengeful lawsuits and threatening letters tell a darker tale. It’s OK to fashion your own mythical country, but only if you can do so without intimidation, tyranny, and disdain for the laws of the land in which you live.

I for one am glad he’s stopped, at least for now.


Keith Raniere was bright, he was charismatic, he promised wealth to the masses and he wore very smart sweaters.


The final consent decree shows there never was a factual finding by any court that the company engaged in fraudulent conduct or that Raniere was found guilty of any fraudulent activities. 

Click to access Raniere-consumers-buyline-consent-order-1996-Sep-03.pdf



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  • it was interesting to read how Pam was head in consumer buyline. It must have been hard for her to suddenly be taken out my Nancy Salzman in NXIVM and have a lot of her power removed. Narcissits get you because it is a slow boil where they slowly remove your power and devalue you. Very interesting read.
    Thank you

  • Thanks to our host for giving a platform to original source (apparently) information about the origins of the Raniere pyramid.

  • Sultan Of Stalk is STILL white knighting Kristin Kreuk…

    And after all these years of her still not slobbering over your twiglet.

    These weird creatures keep trying to roll this Kreuk turd in glitter by saying things along the lines of “well she thought it was a self help group in 2006” and the lie that “she left years before”. The worse one is “she smelt something was off and got out of there really early”.

    Where do they get this shit from?

    Believing you have joined a “self help group” does not excuse you when you learn accusations later on, but carry on as usual. And she still carried on until at least 2016.

    These sad pathetic groupies defending celebrities are absolutely worthless. Literally, what do you get out of it?

    Imagine if Alison Mack or Nicki Clyne had losers making up lies/excuses for them like this.


    • Uh, Nicki Clyne DOES have losers believing her lies, spreading her lies and making excuses for her.

    • Thanks Shadowstate!!!

      I had no idea that working in a factory and being a porn star are different occupations.

    • Shadow! You’re probably right about the crypto, except not. Did you read his patent about entrance/exchange? It’s all about a new currency, for sure. He’s trying to provide incentives for entrants except the house must always win (over all). And it always surredly depends on the investment of the entrant.

  • Infromative post. Whenever I see pictures of guys in suits with mics and presenting in business like Raniere was here, I always wonder if there was an “I’m not leaving” speech somewhere along the line when it goes t*ts up?

  • Interesting. For companies like the original reputable company the lesson is do not be seduced by someone offering you MLM success. Stick with what you know and reject complex tie ups I suppose. Very sad that the original company was destroyed by KR in effect.

  • Given that KR is locked away, I’d love to see Frank Report using fewer anonymously written pieces. It would give the articles a lot more credibility.

      • Anon, I agree. As long as general facts stack up, I think its nice ppl can remain anonymous, too. The Nxivm group is too horrible and vicious.

  • What exactly is VanCunt’s real IQ? Not his claims or a faked test, but his real score. Didn’t he get that old bitch Karen Unterreiner to complete a test for him? He seems thick as fuck.

    • IQ? To my understanding, there aren’t very many instruments in the world that can differentiate above a certain level. It’s because the tests only really measure certain things. You can Google if you want to learn.

      IQ tests are mostly generally used to identify disabilities. Whether inherent or due to declines.

      Sure, they were initially intended to identify mentally fit individuals. But the mental fitness that is measured only really means you have a good working memory, good pattern recognition and easy facility with words and numbers. That’s all it really says.

      A high IQ doesn’t mean you’re smarter or have better ideas than anyone else. It just generally means you compute information a little bit faster and maybe more comprehensively than the average. But? That’s it. That’s where IQ test results end.

      If I could venture a guess? I bet keith would test in the gifted range which would place him in the top 2%. But 2% is a lot of people.

      To pretend like an IQ score is so important and measures any other kind of value is ridiculous.

      So also is his claim of IQ 240. It’s laughable. The weschler scale taps out at 160.

      • Raniere got into RPI, which suggests he was indeed fairly bright, and provides some basis for a rough gauge. A search shows their current SAT score range is Reading and Writing 620-710, Math 670-780 — which works out to composite scores of 1290-1490. 1290 is about the 84th percentile, and 1490 the 98th. I suspect he tested well though he didn’t perform well academically, so it’s quite possible that he was close to that top 2%.

        For anyone who wants to know and compare, the average composite score at a really top school is about 1510, and maxes out around 1570. Which means another way to look at it is if he were really that exceptionally bright, and only got into RPI rather than say MIT, he would have had to have had a rather poor record of actual academic achievement. I’ve noticed that when narcissists claims are carefully parsed like that, they often make them look not so great – or, just expose them as liars and manipulators.

    • [ Joking comment.]
      I suspect his IQ is 85, and base it on the fact that the 5 plus points he has more of, separating him from being half an idiot, have led him to think he is a genius, apart from his narcissism of course.

      • Well, ha ha, might be 85!!!

        When a person approaches IQ 70, that’s when they might start needing some help with with their lives. Dude apparently couldn’t shop, cook or do much of anything other than have sex and talk word salad.

        So? This could be equally possible, too, lol!

        (And explain the very bad decision making.)

        Also, some studies have demonstrated that people possessing psychopathic personality traits are actually less intelligent on average.

        So, maybe I am reading too much into his masterful ability to manipulate people?

        I suppose my point though, was that tons of people in world have high IQs and that it’s actually no predictor of success or anything else.

        Also? In thinking all this, wouldn’t be hilarious if he was administered such a test while in jail and he turned out to be shockingly average? Oh man! I can hear him now … pointing the finger … calling them liars …

        I do feel bad for keith though, that someone ever put him the guiness book. What if this was one of the pivotal moments that warped him into a monster?

        A take home “high society” IQ test? Hmm …

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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