Moira Kim Penza appeared on the podcast A Little Bit Culty.
This is the podcast hosted by the husband and wife team, Sarah Edmondson and Anthony ‘Nippy’ Ames. Both are well-known NXIVM escapees. Edmondson was the woman who first told Frank Report and then the New York Times about her being branded.
Ames is the angry husband who stormed into a NXIVM gathering and, in not so pleasant language, threatened to create havoc for them when he found out that his wife was in a secret sorority headed by a man and that she had been branded with K-R which stood for that man’s initials, which readers know to be Keith Raniere.
One thing led to another and enter Moira Kim Penza. She was an assistant US attorney working for the Department of Justice in the Eastern District of New York. She led the criminal prosecution of Raniere, a successful outcome for her as the man was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 120 years in prison.
Penza rose to fame for this and got a higher paying job with a private law firm, Wilkinson Stekloff, shortly after the trial was over.
Ames and Edmondson rose to fame by appearing on HBO’s docuseries The Vow. Edmondson wrote the book Scarred about her experience and now both husband and wife host a podcast on which the Penza appeared is episode #6 of season #2.
Here is how the episode is described:
Episode Six – Groundbreaker: Moira Penza on Prosecuting NXIVM
A Little Bit Culty –
If you watched “The Vow” or have followed the fall of NXIVM, you know Moira Kim Penza as the prosecutor who brought Keith Raniere to justice. Her accomplishments are mighty: Like Keith’s conviction on all counts including racketeering and sex trafficking and a brisk 120 year sentence. Moira’s groundbreaking approach to the case has been credited with paving the way for other sex trafficking prosecutions against powerful individuals. In other words: She’s a total badass. In this episode, Moira sits down with Sarah and Nippy to talk about what it’s like to take on a world-class dirtbag (our wording, not hers) and what really chaps her ass about NXIVM’s Voldemort.
More about today’s guest: Moira is now in private practice as a litigator, and a partner at Wilkinson Stekloff. Crain’s New York business named her in the 40 under 40 list, she’s been ranked as one of Bloomberg Law’s 40 under 40, and her legal analysis has been featured in The NY Times, CNN, ABC, NPR and Daily Beast.
In her interview, Penza describes how she sent out subpoenas and met with witnesses to do a pretty fast and furious investigation. From the time the New York Times story came out – where she apparently first got wind of NXIVM and the Vanguard in October 2017 – to the time of Raniere’s arrest in March was a mere six months.
They pushed it, Penza said, because they feared there was ongoing criminality.
“We had every reason to believe that there were still women in danger and that there would still be criminal activity if Keith Raniere was not stopped,” Penza said.
What was the big criminal mistake Raniere made – what got her on to the case?
Penza said it was the “allegations about collateral… coercion when you hear that, that enables criminal activity… The ability to have that coercive control —…. once you have that source of power, you have an amazing ability to victimize people and commit certain kinds of crimes.”
It was collateral then that sparked the investigation and ultimately his arrest and conviction. Smart idea from the world’s smartest man.
The other shocking thing – aside from the crazy idea of branding – was, according to Penza, “the allegation that Keith Raniere was behind this so-called women’s empowerment group…. this fundamental fraud that you had this man in the background, was this puppet master… There could be a sexual component to this….”
It did not take her long to find out it was true.
“I met with people who had been assaulted by Keith Raniere as part of DOS,” Penza said.
From there, she put the pieces together to level the charges. But it was collateral that was the legal foothold that led to the rascal’s demise.
In his bio, Raniere was quick to point out that he was one of the top three problem solvers in the world, with a problem-solving rarity of one in 425 million. He was named in the Guinness Book of Records for having tied with two others for the highest IQ on an IQ test offered by the obscure Mega Society, a blunder by Guinness that seems to have provoked them to retire the category ‘Highest IQ’ immediately after naming Raniere in 1989.
He was also quick to laud his success for his signal invention, Rational Inquiry, which was taught by Executive Success Programs as part of his NXIVM. This triumph and much more he can dwell upon as he serves his remaining 99 years in USP Tucson thanks in large part to Penza, Ames and Edmondson. And that he took collateral on more than 100 women who were his slaves, some of whom did not even know it, until Frank Report revealed it in June 2017.
Viva Executive Success!
To listen to Penza’s informative interview click here.