The countdown begins today for Nancy Salzman as she goes about the final week before she will stand before U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis – and learn what sentence he will impose on her with respect to the guilty plea she entered back on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
Nancy was the first of the six co-defendants to break ranks – and plead guilty to one count of Racketeering rather than stand trial with Keith Raniere, the other co-founder of the NXIVM/ESP criminal enterprise.
But she wouldn’t be the last.
Eventually, all five of Keith’s co-defendants chose to plead guilty to various crimes rather than be tried alongside him.
Next up was Nancy’s daughter, Lauren Salzman, who pleaded guilty to one count of Racketeering and one Count of Racketeering Conspiracy on March 25, 2019 – and who, unlike Nancy, also agreed to fully cooperate with federal prosecutors regarding their prosecution of Keith.
The transcript of Lauren’s plea hearing was immediately sealed – and only a redacted version was eventually made available to the general public. Many interpreted that to mean that she had cut a deal with the prosecutors that would require her to assist them with their prosecution of Keith – which turned out to be the case.
Not only did Lauren provide key information and documents concerning NXIVM/ESP – especially with regard to Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS), the secret blackmail and sex portion of the cult that eventually ended with scores of women being branded with Keith’s initials – she also testified for four days during his 6-week trial.
For all the assistance she provided – and, just as importantly, for her rehabilitation efforts over the past 2½ years – Judge Garaufis recently sentenced Lauren to five (5) years of probation and 300 hours of community service.
Less than two weeks after Lauren had entered her guilty plea, it was Allison Mack’s turn to stand before Judge Garaufis – and plead guilty to the same two crimes as Lauren: Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy.
Although Mach apparently provided some belated assistance to the prosecution – and although she was reportedly ready to testify against Keith at this trial – her assistance was deemed to be less important when it came time for her to be sentenced.
The Probation Department calculated the applicable sentencing guidelines for Allison to be 168 months to 210 months – and her attorneys and Judge Garaufis agreed with those calculations.
So, when Allison walked into court on June 30, 2021, she was facing a possible sentence of 14-17.5 years.
Judge Garaufis began with a blistering summation of Allison’s role in DOS – and all the harm she had done to the women who served as her slaves. At that point, many in the courtroom felt like Allison may be headed off to federal prison for a decade or more.
But after reviewing what Allison had done during the 2+ years between pleading guilty and her sentencing hearing – and noting that she had sent personal letters-of-apology to nine of her DOS victims – Judge Garaufis then focused on what appears to have been the key issue in his sentencing decision for her: the fact that in addition to being a perpetrator to other women in DOS, she was also a victim of Keith Raniere.
After weighing all the relevant factors, Judge Garaufis sentenced Allison to 36-months in federal prison. He also sentenced her to 3-years of post-release supervised probation, fined her $20,000, imposed a $200 special assessment, and ordered her to perform 1,000 hours of community service.
Although he did not order Allison to pay any restitution, he did reserve the right to make her jointly and severally liable for any restitution that is subsequently imposed on any of her co-conspirators (To date, Keith has been ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution).
Allison will be reporting to federal prison later this month.
Clare Bronfman & Kathy Russell
The last two of Keith’s co-defendants to plead guilty were Clare Bronfman and Kathy Russell – both of whom appeared before Judge Garaufis on April 19, 2019, and pleaded guilty to reduced charges.
Clare pleaded guilty to what seemed at the time like two rather innocuous counts: Conspiracy to Conceal and Harbor illegal Aliens for Financial Gain – and Fraudulent Use of Identification.
As part of her plea deal, she also agreed to forfeit $6 million – and was told that the applicable sentencing guidelines in her case called for a prison term of 21-27 months.
But when she was sentenced on September 30, 2020, Judge Garaufis departed from the sentencing guidelines – and ordered Clare to be imprisoned for 81-months.
He also ordered her to be taken into custody on the spot – which is something that federal judges do when they want to display their displeasure with a guilty defendant.
Clare is currently incarcerated in Philadelphia. PA.
Kathy Russell had been accused of committing several crimes: falsifying identification documents to help smuggle a Mexican woman across the U.S./Canadian border – and facilitating the installation of a ‘key logger” device on the computer of Jim Loperfido, an outside accountant for NXIVM/ESP (That device was used to monitor his email correspondence with Joe O’Hara, one of NXIVM/ESP’s top “enemies” at the time).
But at her plea hearing, Kathy was allowed to plead guilty to one count of visa fraud with regard to a letter she wrote on behalf of Loreta Garza, a member of NXIVM/ESP whose visa had expired and who was living in the U.S. illegally.
Kathy’s sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
So, What Now for Nancy?
Given that Lauren was given probation, many people believed that Nancy would be given a similar sentence by Judge Garaufis.
Indeed, Nancy had been telling her friends and family members for several months that she was not going to be serving any prison time.
The way she described it, she was “Only going to get time served” – which, while inaccurate in its description, apparently meant she believed she would not be sentenced to serve any time in prison.
But things changed on August 18th when the federal prosecutors filed their Sentencing Memorandum.
In that document, the prosecutors not only gave vivid descriptions of some of Nancy’s criminal activities, they also revealed that the applicable sentencing guidelines in her case – which had been calculated to be 33-to-41 months at the time she pleaded guilty – had been recalculated to be 41-to-51 months by the Probation Department.
The prosecutors then recommended that Nancy be given a prison sentence at the high end of the original guidelines calculation: i.e., 41 months.
One thing seems certain now: Nancy Salzman is going to be serving time in federal prison.
And if the past is prologue in this case, she’s probably going to be sentenced to at least 41-months – and possibly as much as 51 months or more.
Nancy’s exact sentence will depend on a lot of factors;
- What she’s done for the last 2 ½ years to rehabilitate herself;
- Whether she’s pursued a new career – and stopped holding herself out to be a licensed therapist;
- Whether she’s apologized – and otherwise made amends – to all the people she victimized during her 20-year reign as the Prefect of NMXIVM/ESP;
- Whether she has truly renounced Keith Raniere and his perverted teachings; and
- Whether she has generally cleaned up her life, turned over any other NXIVM/ESP-related cash she may have held over and above the $520,000 that was found in her home when it was searched by the FBI, and stayed away from NXIVM/ESP-related people.
Later today, Nancy’s attorneys will be filing their Sentencing Memorandum – which will likely ask that Nancy be sentenced to 3-5 years of probation.
But the real deal will occur on September 8th when Nancy stands before Judge Garaufis – and finds out her fate.
In the meantime, the countdown is on…