Keith Raniere’s hoped-for halting payments to his 21 victims might have failed.
Raniere does not want any of the 21 victims paid – even with Clare Bronfman’s money.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled Raniere owed $3.4 million to 21 victims – most of them from DOS.
The only challenge was that Raniere claimed to be penniless.
But it looks like they are being paid after all.
And the DOJ has already paid some of them.
In November 2020, Bronfman paid $6 million in restitution as part of her plea deal.
In December, the US Attorney’s Office for EDNY asked if they could use Bronfman’s money to pay Raniere’s victims.
After all, Raniere always used Bronfman’s money to turn people into victims. It seemed only fair.
They asked the top man, Attorney General Merrick Garland.
On March 8, 2022, he approved the payment of Bronfman cash to Raniere victims.
No sooner did they get started than Raniere objected.
His attorney Joseph Tully cited their Rule 33 Motion to the court as a reason to not pay them. The Rule 33 Motion, filed on May 3, alleges the FBI tampered with evidence in Raniere’s case.
Tully wrote, “It would be highly improvident for the government to distribute any restitution funds before these issues are fully briefed and ruled on.”
He said if Raniere’s Rule 33 Motion is successful, it “would affect the grant of any restitution payments…. Thus Mr. Raniere objects to any distributions at this time.”
But it looks like it is too late.
A letter from AUSAs Kevin Trowel and Tanya Hajjar tell the story.
They write to Catherine O’Hagan Wolfe, Clerk of Court. United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Re: United States v. Raniere Docket No. 21-1795
Dear Ms. Wolfe:
The government respectfully submits this update in accordance with the Court’s September 17, 2021 order…
The government has been advised by the Clerk’s Office for the Eastern District of New York that some victims have now received their restitution payments. Payments to the remaining victims have been processed and those victims will receive them in due course….
The government also writes in response to the defendant Keith Raniere’s letter… object[ing] to the distribution of funds to his victims.
[T]he decision to grant remission or restoration lies within the sole and exclusive discretion of the Attorney General and his designees… [T]he funds… were forfeited by Raniere’s co-defendant Clare Bronfman pursuant to Bronfman’s plea agreement… she does not challenge any aspect of her plea agreement on appeal…. The funds are lawfully under the government’s control. Raniere has no interest in them, and he therefore has no standing to object to the government’s distribution of those funds to his victims.
How sad for Raniere.
The FBI arrested him, the DOJ prosecuted him, and a jury convicted him. Then a judge sentenced him to 120 years in prison.
And now he does not even control the spending of Bronfman’s money?
So much injustice.
Meanwhile, the DOJ has paid some and will continue to pay the remaining victims.
India Oxenberg: $298,476.65
Sutton Family: $250,000
Pam A.: $172,354.18
Jane Doe 35: $127,504.98
Jessica Joan: $116,568
Kristin T. $94,215
Add’l Jane Doe 14: $53,286.69
Allison W. $44,215.20.
Sarah Edmondson: $27,408.35
James Loperfido: $5,625
It’s funny. Most people would be glad to see someone else pay their bills.
The Bureau of Prisons takes $300 out of Raniere’s commissary monthly to go towards victims.
A payment rate that would see them paid in 1198 years. But it leaves Raniere with about $75 per month for his needs that do not magically appear.
Raniere would rather suffer deprivation than see his victims get a dime. He is one unusual ethicist.