Frank Report has learned that Keith Raniere is making monthly payments to his victims – albeit not voluntary payments. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP)is taking the money from his commissary account and the wages he earns at his prison job at USP Tucson.
Last July, US District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis awarded restitution in the sum of $3.46 million to twenty-one victims and ordered Raniere to make immediate payment.
Raniere did not make any payment.
The U. S. Attorney’s Office’s Financial Litigation Unit (FLU) is charged with enforcing orders of restitution. The FLU could not identify any assets other than Raniere’s Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System (TRULINCS), an electronic fund management system that allows inmates to hold funds to purchase commissary items, use the phone, email and, when required, pay restitution.
It is believed that Raniere was receiving $320 per month from friends and that he was earning about $15 per month for wages. Federal inmates earn from 12 cents to 40 cents per hour for jobs in the prison. Raniere was reportedly working in the kitchen for a time.
Because he owed restitution, FLU placed Raniere into the Financial Responsibility Program (FRP), where prison staff monitor his income and make recommendations for restitution payments.
According to our calculations, 79 percent of Raniere’s commissary money is going to victims, leaving him with $75 per month for commissary. Raniere is paying $260 per month to 19 victims – or $13.68 each per month to each victim.
It would take 1089 years for all the restitution Raniere owes to be paid at this rate. The problem is compounded by the fact that restitution is unenforceable after 20 years. Raniere might wind up paying only a tiny fraction of restitution unless other sources of funds become available.
As for the pain Raniere must endure by the diminution of his commissary, it remains unclear. For the normal prisoner, it might be quite punishing to have only $75 for commissary. But a resourceful person, say one of the top three problem solvers in the US prison systems, with friends on the outside willing to financially help him, can quickly obviate the problem.
They can put money into other prisoners’ commissary with an agreement to share it with Raniere.
On top of that, it is well known that Corrections Officers [AKA guards] provide many items and services to prisoners and a person with money can often buy items, including contraband directly from COs – which is a nice service the BOP offers prisoners.
Dreams of Fast Cash for Restitution Evaporated
There was considerable joy last July when Judge Garaufis awarded restitution as follows:
- Nicole: $412,779.18
- Jessica Joan: $116,568
- Audrey: $142,017.96
- Sylvie: $25,809.78
- India Oxenberg: $298,476.65
- Sarah Edmondson: $27,408.35
- Amanda: $257,617.51
- Souki: $244,680.03
- Valerie: $241,247.50
- Pam A.: $172,354.18
- Additional Jane Doe 14: $53,286.69
- Erika $59,720.25
- Allison W. $44,215.20.
- Paloma: $71,320.45
- Jane Doe 35: $127,504.98
- Kristin T. $94,215
- Rachel: $49,748.10
- Camila: $507,997.45
- Daniela: $249,200
- James Loperfido: $5,625
- Sutton Family: $250,000
Many believed that money would be readily available from the estate of Pam Cafritz, who died in November 2016, leaving $8 million to Raniere.
More than five years later, Cafritz’s estate has apparently still not been probated – and, according to sources familiar with the status of the estate, the money will not be available for years to come, if ever.
According to sources, Cafritz did not keep accurate records of the source of her money – and did not file tax returns. Some of the money is suspected to have been secreted by Raniere from Mexico. If the government can show Cafritz’s money was part of the NXIVM racketeering enterprise, they may move to seize it. The real battle for the $8 million may be between the IRS and the US Attorney over how much each department gets.
If anything is left, it would then go to restitution victims. If there is anything left after that, it would go to Raniere.
Bronfman Money Not Going to Victims of Raniere
What about the Bronfman money?
Clare Bronfman is not legally responsible for paying for Raniere’s victims.
When the US Dept. of Justice for the Eastern District of NY negotiated a plea deal with Bronfman, it was agreed she would pay $6 million as a fine in lieu of forfeiting other assets. At the time, some thought the $6 million would be used for restitution victims.
Each of the 94 US Attorneys’ offices compete to see which office can get the most forfeiture money. It is competitive and impacts the budget and prestige of individual offices. It appears the EDNY prosecutors, when they structured the $6 million fine, knew the money would go to the forfeiture pot and not the restitution pot.
Restitution Takes Back Seat to Feds
“The Justice for All Act of 2004,” which provides that “crime victims are entitled to full and timely restitution,” is largely a sham.
In most cases – and the Raniere case appears to be no exception – there is no money for restitution.
The feds often seize assets for forfeiture before a defendant is convicted. Whatever money is left is often exhausted by lawyers by the time a defendant goes to trial. Most defendant by the time they are convicted are broke and in prison, where they won’t be making much money.
The dirty little secret is that in most cases, victim restitution is for show, not for substance.
According to the DOJ, “Under federal law, it is mandatory for a defendant to pay restitution when there is a loss to the victim. Unfortunately, as a practical matter, a defendant who has no money or potential to make money in the future, may be unlikely to ever make meaningful restitution to the victims of a crime.”
So, it goes.
Bronfman’s $6 million was absorbed by the government.
Cafritz’s $8 million will be absorbed by the government.
Raniere will make payments of $260 per month.
Meantime, the government prosecutors, with righteous indignation, proclaim they did it all for the abused women and other victims and, in the end, they brought justice for all.
Meantime the victims get $13.68 per month.
Viva Prosecutorial Success!!