Acting United States Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis filed a Proposed Order of Restitution for Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis to review and approve. It provides a schedule for defendant Keith Alan Raniere to make restitution payments to 21 adjudicated victims.
Acting United States Attorney Tanya Hajjar, who was one of three AUSA’s who prosecuted Raniere at his criminal trial, appears to have written the proposed order filed with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which was the venue of the Raniere prosecution.
Despite much more than 90 percent of all activities charged as crimes occurred in the Northern District of New York, that district did not bring the charges and some “gerrymandering” of jurisdiction seems to have occurred to give federal prosecutors in Brooklyn the ability to prosecute when their Albany counterparts seemed to have not seriously considered Raniere’s alleged criminal conduct.
Along with the Proposed Order of Restitution, the Brooklyn prosecution also filed two exhibits, labeled “A” and “B,” both under seal because they provide the victims’ full names which are, by order of the judge, shielded from the public, but known to the defense.
Exhibit “B” contains, in addition to their names, the victims’ addresses. The prosecution has asked the judge to file this ex parte – so that the defense will not have access to these addresses, presumably to shield the victims from possible harm from Raniere.
The prosecution seeks the judge’s approval that only “appropriate personnel of the Clerk’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office should have access to it in order to make the required distributions.”
It seems highly likely the judge will grant this request.
During the trial and at various hearings, the judge ordered that only the first names or nicknames of the DOS victims were to be disclosed. All of the names are known to Frank Report but, in support of the spirit of the judge’s decision, though it is not binding upon a free press, Frank Report has a policy of publishing only their first names during the prosecution of Raniere and will continue to adhere to this policy with the exception of those women who have publicly revealed their names.
Several of these women have chosen to do media interviews, appear on documentaries, podcasts, and/or write books to ostensibly help others to avoid the fate they experienced.
The Proposed Order of Restitution is, according to AUSA Hajjar, in “accordance with the Court’s supplemental sentencing statement and order of July 20, 2021.”
Raniere was convicted of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy and two counts of sex trafficking in June 2019. He was sentenced to 120-years in federal prison plus five years probation when he completes his sentence at age 159.
His release date is June 2120 – some 99 years from now. Th at release date provides for time off for good behavior and includes credit for the approximately one year Raniere was in pretrial custody prior to conviction.
A judgment of restitution was ordered on October 30, 2020.
According to the prosecution’s proposed order, restitution to victims 1-19, which are DOS victims, all of whom are female, and constitute recipients of 98.8 percent of the total restitution amount of $3,460,336 is due immediately.
The restitution due to the two non-DOS victims, both of whom are men, is due on July 20, 2022.
It is not clear why the prosecution seeks to delay payment of $255,000 for a year, while demanding immediate payment for $3,205,336.
It would seem that if Raniere could pay $3.2 million now, he could pay $3.4 million also and be done with it.
The looming question is can he pay?
Cafritz Money Held Up?
According to filings made with the court, Raniere has no assets to his name. But he is the reportedly the sole distributee named in the will of the late Pamela Cafrtiz, who left Raniere a reported $8 million.
The distribution of the Cafritz estate to Raniere is being held up y the IRS, however, according to a knowledgeable source, because possible federal taxes may be due not only from the estate but potentially from Cafritz when she was living.
It is unclear who is handling this matter for the estate and how long it will take but it would behoove all parties — the IRS, Raniere, the prosecution and even the attorney for several of the victims, Neil Glazer, to work to try to resolve this and get victims paid.
Since much of the victim restitution is based on the cost of present and future mental health therapy, it might be prudent to encourage a quick resolution of this matter to ensure that women who legitimately require help continue can get it.
If the estate of Cafritz is not settled, it may be possible that some of the $6 million Clare Bronfman paid as a fine as part of her plea bargain might be used.
If neither the Cafritz estate can be settled and if Bronfman’s fine cannot be used, Raniere’s chances of paying the $3.4 million might be slender.
As a federal prisoner, Raniere earns between 12 cents and 40 cents per hour for jobs serving the prison. Raniere was slated to work in the kitchen preparing food for inmates, although a source tells me he is not presently working.
Assuming he gets paid at the top rate of 40 cents per hour and works 40 hours per week he would make $16 per week [$832 per year], a significant drop in earnings for a man who was said by one of his followers to have earned more than $100,000 per hour life-coaching some of the top executives in the world.
If Raniere put his entire prison earnings into restitution, he would be able to pay the DOS women some $82,368 over the next 99 years he is scheduled to remain in custody, which is less than 1 percent of monies due.
However, a restitution judgment is a federal lien that appears to last only 20 years and that may become legally void in October 2040.
It is also possible that some or all of his commissary money — which is less than $400 per month maximum – could be used to pay victims. If all of it was seized to pay restitution, at less than $5,000 per year, split 19 ways, each DOS victim would receive $263 per year.
On the other hand, if Raniere really could earn $100,000 per hour and any of his clients — those top executive of the world – are still around and profiting by his genius — if they let him out he could earn the money in a week, or possibly quicker if he invested it in the commodities market.