Show Us the Money! NPR Tears Into ‘The Vow #2’ for Ignoring the Financial Issues

by Paul Serran

An article in the National Public Radio (NPR) website about ‘The Vow, Part 2’ sent a tremor throughout the whole NXIVM scene, both on the side of the whistleblowers/escapees and also between the ones still advocating for the multilevel-marketing-scam-turned-sex-cult.

The reviewer, Linda Holmes, opens up with quite the salvo: Cult leaders know it, pyramid scheme operators know it, and you undoubtedly know it, too: Nothing complicates a narrative like half a million dollars in cash.


The article goes on to add that it’s ‘puzzling that they don’t explore in the series: When the FBI searched Nancy Salzman’s house pursuant to a search warrant, they found more than half a million dollars in cash. More than $390,000 of it was stuffed into a single shoebox.’

Financial servitude preceded the sexual slavery.

That’s quite the financial elephant in the room. After all, as most Frank Report readers already know so well, the criminality in ESP/NXIVM did not begin with the sexual blackmail and fire-branding of DOS.

Frank Parlato has written many times about how the very name NXIVM is closely related to (probably derived from) the Nexum contracts in Ancient Rome.

Parlato:Nexum was a debt contract in the early Roman Republic. The debtor pledged his person, his actual body, as collateral, should he default on a loan. It was, in effect, a mortgage on a person, not on property.

Nexum was accompanied by a symbolic transfer of rights that involved a set of scales, copper weights, and a prescribed vow. Similar to DOS branding, the nexum contract was entered into with a ceremony with five witnesses.’

It is plain to see how the financial servitude of the never-ending ESP courses was followed by sexual servitude of an inner circle of female empowerment (achieved by worshipping a man) like DOS.

Back to the NPR article, Linda Holmes writes: ‘Money. Money has been missing from too much of The Vow’s story of NXIVM all along. Recruiters made big money, the organization made big money — the story is awash in money.’

Salzman pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy, lest we forget.

She also makes the important point that money was not only an issue for the handlers at the very top of the racketeering conspiracy: ‘And for these people who are in the gray area where they are both victims and perpetrators (an area that exists in any similar organization), money affects their behavior, their accountability, and their attempts to make amends or move on.’

‘[T]he series examines the story largely through the eyes of Raniere’s second in command, Nancy Salzman, who ultimately pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy.’

She says many things that want to suggest that ESP/NXIVM was completely legitimate were it not for the sexual slavery and blackmail of DOS – and yet, as she spoke she had already pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy. It was not an adventure in ‘the field of human potential’. It was a racket.

Look how deluded Nancy sounds: ‘Imagine you spent 22 years trying to build something that you fully believed in and thought was good, and everybody thinks it’s the devil’s work.’

Holmes reminds us that, not only did ‘The Vow Part 2’ fail to mention the money found at Nancy’s house, but also overlooks ‘the fact that she was fined $150,000 and ordered to surrender more than $500,000 in cash plus some properties — and a Steinway […].’

Nancy ‘is insistent that she believed until very late in the game that she was involved in an above-board, if unconventional, self-help group.’

Yeah, right.

The Vow #2 avoids some hard questions.

Linda Holmes also questions what the role of money was in the process of Sarah Edmondson’s defection: ‘Didn’t she make an awful lot of money recruiting other people into NXIVM? Does she feel right about keeping it, now that she says she’s seen the light about Raniere? [In her CNBC podcast] Edmondson has two basic responses: she worked really hard for the organization, and anyway, her money isn’t really liquid these days, or she’d gladly hand it out to the people she took it from. It is a heck of a response.’

While the article has a good point that Nancy Salzman ‘may have been hesitant to discuss money and specifics because of some continuing legal jeopardy,’ the rationale for the directors and producers bypassing such a crucial part of the story is inexplicable. Holmes writes that ‘it winds up seeming like a gaping hole in the series that it avoids money with such rigor.’

About the author

Paul Serran


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  • It would be SOOO much more interesting if Frank would make a weekly post sharing his play-by-play thoughts on each episode of The Vow as they are released.

    • Less opinion and more primary sources of information given to the authorities will move us more quickly past everything everyone wants gone. Ugh.

      Enough is enough, already.

      I’m with Kevin:

      Where’s the accountability for the troublemakers at the top?

  • NS was a good patsy for Keith as she was “just” a nurse but a good speaker so could perhaps be conned (if she were) more than had he picked a very well educated female lawyer or MBA to run things. I don’t think for those at the top Nx was all about money at all. For KR it was probably about sex and power and for many others “doing good” and thinking they had the best “tech” in the world to change the world as does just about every religion and cult on the planet although they certainly did need money for their aims so not surprising they hid some. They seem to have been happy to break the law (very common in cults) even things like fake marriages to allow someone to stay in the US which most normal people would never accept – as if their normal moral compass and self preservation were removed by the uncritical thinking of believing what the cult told them.

  • I don’t think Nancy Salzman was the only one who had cash stored at her house

    Not every NXIVM member house was searched by the FBI. Not every storage locker was either.

    How about off shore or Bitcoin accounts?

    How about some of it made it way or was kept in Mexico, on Clare Bronfman’s Island in Fiji

    My guess, there was a lot more than 500,000 stuffed away for Raniere.

    Most likely Salzman has some put away some else also.

  • I am not convinced NXIVM was money driven. Maybe for some of the smaller players but not Keith. He had two woman worth hundreds of millions at his beck and call. The amount of money NXIVM made was not even a rounding error to what those woman made by simply getting up in the morning. Now below Keith, yeah it was somewhat about money. He wasn’t sharing with them after all. But I think it was mostly about power. They had control over so many people, to do what they want, when they want. That is a drug in and of itself. I think they were addicted to that drug.

    • People paid good money for all that training.

      What would have happened had the Raniere/Salzman experiments continued? How large would the group be by now? If six were to have obtained six more who would have obtained six more all over the world, more advanced and expensive training with those creepy experiments could have created many heartless killers.

      Is that how the two Swedish sisters did what they did? Were they mentally ill, brainwashed, programmed or behaviorally modified? If The Tavistok Institute had anything to do with the two Swedish sisters and NXIVM, who could tell us?

      I agree with Erasend. NXIVM was about power and control, not money. Those who funded Tavistok have plenty of money.

      “In 2008, BBC cameras filmed two Swedish sisters throwing themselves into traffic on the M6. When it was shown on BBC One, nearly 7 million viewers were glued to their screens, and millions more watched it later on YouTube.

      The footage was shocking. One previewer wrote “On no account miss this documentary. It opens with what is perhaps the most extraordinary footage I’ve seen on TV”.

      But this amazing footage was only part of an even more incredible story, one which could not be told at the time for legal reasons.

      Now, two years later, this documentary reveals the full story of the hours just before the cameras captured that motorway footage, and the even more chilling story of what happened over next 72 hours, which left one of the sisters fleeing the scene of a crime, after she had stabbed a man through the chest.

      Those who were at the centre of this fascinating legal case, including the police and Crown prosecution service, reveal the complex issues involved in both bringing charges and taking this disturbing case to trial.

      A leading criminal psychiatrist, Dr. Nigel Eastman, explains the difficulties the judicial system has in achieving justice and deciding punishment when dealing with mental illness. He explains the possible causes of the womens’ behaviour, and why, in his view, it could happen again.”

  • The Vow season 2 doesn’t compare to season 1. I heard there was shenanigans on the set- of the DOS variety- with the producer. Any truth to that?

    Wouldn’t be the first Hollywood show where a producer made advances at the actresses/subjects, but given the premise of the show…

  • They’re all money driven. Edmunson and Vicente made plenty of money but now they sue as victims.

    Why they made Nancy the focal point is beyond reason. They reference the frank report as bringing the facts to light but then don’t have frank report on the financial aspects of it in the series.

    Season 2 is seriously flawed. Very disappointing.

    • yeah Nancy is so insufferable I am not able to get through episode three her voice really grates imagine paying thousands to sit listening to that in your free time. mind boggling

  • Those three letters were the only thing giving you any real cred. What? Did they leave you out of this season?

    • HBO isn’t the standard bearer for credibility. Michael Jackson’s estate won a lawsuit against HBO for how MJ was depicted in “Leaving Neverland.” The accusers in that story were men in their 30s, so no one had any guilt or hesitation in calling out their bullshit.

      • Trying to follow. What’s the NXIVM bullshit that you’re afraid to call out?
        All I can come up with is you’re afraid to scream “LIAR” at the parade of women that Raniere allegedly statutorily raped.

        • Hello Nutjob, to answer your question:

          Not everything is about Raniere. There are other considerations, such as people losing their careers, livelihoods, reputations, and freedom for having associated with NXIVM and for having gotten something positive from it.

          Or that the two lead plaintiffs in the civil suit and heroes of the HBO series that they produced should be in prison if their claims are truthful, and that their families should be permanently bankrupted.

          Or that the producers of India’s series were caught smearing a man who supports NXIVM for the group having helped him overcome a disability, making it look like he was endorsing a statement that condoned violence against women when he was endorsing a separate program that made him more understanding of women.

          Or that the US Government is calling something forced labor (the transcription of a late friend’s memorial service) that it would never call forced labor if you, me, or anyone less attractive or powerful than these supposed victims had been made to do it. And if you live in the real world, unlike some of these people pointing fingers, you would know that compulsory volunteering is the price a lot of us pay for the privilege of having a job. So if Nicole is a victim of forced labor, so is the half of the working age population that actually works for a paycheck to survive. I don’t see any small violins being played for us. Do you?

          Or that the majority of people suing in the civil suit had no relationship with the majority of those they are accusing. But that they did have relationships with the lead plaintiffs, who they are not suing.

          Or that the president of the company and her daughter have been removed from the civil suit, while dues paying, rank and file members remain defendants.

          Or that having been in NXIVM disqualifies some members from holding professional employment, but not others. Even though the person disqualified from holding a professional job was never accused of a crime, and that her involvement in the group was separate from her career.

          She’s considered a “threat to society.” But the woman who had a major leadership role in the organization and was the company’s lead or second lead recruiter, she is not. Question that narrative, that double standard, and the fangs come out.

          Or that Allison took a plea deal because the US Attorneys prosecuting the case were using RICO to tie her to child pornography charges that she had nothing to with, and might have been outright fabricated.

          Or that the e-mail that everyone uses as a reference to show that Allison fed India to Keith makes no mention of India or sex. Allison is asking for payment, and promising to streamline the process going forward.

          Or that people who did everything that was pinned on Allison were never prosecuted.

          Or that this case was prosecuted because of a New York Times article, while more serious accusations against Raniere dating back to the 80s, accusations involving underage girls, were never looked into.

          Or that one of Allison’s supposed victims has no evidence to support her claim, and that it was India who gave her the assignment, not Allison, if you even take her word for it in the first place. That this same woman received immunity from a marriage fraud crime she committed in exchange for burying Allison in court.

          Or that Allison had no prior criminal record, had never been accused of a crime, and had an army of family, friends and co-workers who would have told anyone willing to listen what a kind-hearted person she is. That she was convicted in the media and never given a chance to defend herself.

          That a Federal Judge took a vulnerable woman who might have some disabilities and health issues from years of abuse to her body and mind was sentenced to three years in prison. That the prison is not allowing her to have visitors in the name of Covid, when the only reason she decided on that prison was to be close to her family. That the prison has a terrible reputation for abuse. That Allison had been on home confinement for three years and followed all rules and orders, held a job and went to school. She is not a threat to society, was able to demonstrate this for three years, and they put her in prison anyway.

          That her friends and castmates of almost a decade never came to her defense, never offered her any support, in any way. That one castmate gets to pretend that she never belonged to this group, and another gets to lie about Allison “not wanting her there,” when in fact Allison went out of her way to coach her. Such as demonstrating that if your character is supposed to be sad, that you shouldn’t be smiling in the scene. Things like that.

          • Thanks for the long reply. For the record, I have been loud over the years about not wanting Alison to go to prison. She was conned just like everyone else was conned. A couple points:

            – “The fangs come out” but only from that person being attacked. Nobody else is really fighting Sarah’s battle for her. I defend her sometimes because I know she was duped (just like Alison). But, most importantly, when Sarah saw what was up, she helped end Raniere. Others (like Alison) were slower to see him for what he is. Keith compartmentalized everything. It’s extremely difficult to know who knew what and when they knew it.

            – Alison was the “choosen one” to “take the fall” and was up to the task (until too late in the game). In other words, Raniere had her pegged as the stooge who would take his bait and fall on the sword. This had unfortunate consequences for Alison.

            – The two lead plaintiffs were lied to and tricked – just like EVERYONE else. Including Alison.

            – The lawsuit is against keith and his bankroll. Period. Alison should stop playing checkers when everyone else is playing chess. The Salzmans just showed her the path. Maybe one of her representatives should help her out?

            -The blackmail caused issues. The forced labor charges are part of the blackmail. The forced labor charges are not funeral related or compulsary volunteering related. They are blackmail related.

          • —Not everything is about Raniere.

            I totally agree. It’s about some thick-ass cankles and nasty feet to match.

          • ‘My first time I jacked off, I thought I’d invented it. I looked down at my sloppy handful of junk and thought, This is going to make me rich.’ – Sultan O’ Six

          • “My first time I jacked off, I thought I’d invented it. I looked down at my sloppy handful of junk and thought, This is going to make me rich.’ – Sultan O’ Six”


            Can’t stop! LoL

  • Paul fails to mention all of the dead-enders who still are sucking hard off of the Bronfman money teat.

    And the biggest parasite of all is Raniere

  • I don’t know. Money was part of the whole NXIVM thing and part of the curriculum. Keith taught not to pay taxes. He picked Nancy to be the idiot to hold cash in shoeboxes for the company and for “the mission.” There was value in some of what they peddled. It’s not like Sarah was selling fake ecstasy pills. There was some value. In retrospect, she’d probably not hawk NXIVM courses. But at the time it made sense. Hell, there’s stuff in may past that I used to believe in that I now know I shouldn’t have. I’m not going back to the people I made money off of and offering them money for steering them the wrong way.

        • That’s a strange thing about the Keith Raniere cult loyalists.

          When it benefits the dead-enders they conflate the two organizations. DOS and Nxivm. The civil lawsuit would be a good example of this tactic.

          But the dossier project has also spent literally years generating content to differentiate between the DOS slave ring and ESP/Nxivm.

          It’s not a consistent stance, on the differentiation of DOS/Nxivm, that the vanguard dead-enders have presented.

          It’s absolutely whatever benefits the dead-enders in the moment for that particular reframing argument on the merits of both organizations.

          Even within the cult there has been conflicting information presented by the leaders including Keith himself. Regarding the connection or interconnection of the slavery ring and ESP.

          That continues to this day and changes all the time depending on what out of context point the Loyalists are trying to twist.

          At one timr Allison Mack was telling the press that she thought of the brand and the group was her idea.

          Sometimes Nicki Clyne claims it as her invention. Other times they all came up with it together but just the women.

          Then in recordings it’s clearly a Keith driven enterprise.

          Then Vanguard is on camera telling his followers he knew nothing about DOS. Then Keith did know, but wasn’t involved.

          Rhen Keith is in texts and emails saying he was the Grand Master.

          One moment Keith is saying that it didn’t really include only people from The cult of Nxivm, other times it’s all the same community.

          The only consistent truth is that they are all liars and will say whatever is beneficial at that moment.

        • NutJob-

          1. For the record that’s a stupid question.

          2. Our data shows it’s a stupid question – based on your bad data.

          3. You are such an ant-cultist! Asking such a vile, stupid question. So disgustingly tribal are you.
          Tribal ninny!

          4. The EXIF meta data was manipulated in such a way as to make your question stupid.
          Kiper says it’s decidedly so.

          5. “The new 5G wireless is controlling Nutjob’s brain waves and making him ask that stupid question.” (3G Fred)

          6. “You’re asking that stupid question because you don’t know about “tools-scams” or my downline backside.”

          NutJob, I hope you enjoyed my stupid attempt at satire.

          I bid you good night. 🙂

    • I think Linda Holmes is way off there and I agree with you Nutjob (great analogy btw). You took a NXIVM course once, did you call your recruiter and ask for your money back?

      They believed in what they were selling. And what they were selling wasn’t illegal, it was real. True it was just regurgitated ripoff of stuff that already existed, but they didn’t know that. It was way overpriced too but that’s not illegal either.

      It’s like Amway products. The laundry soap is an overpriced ripoff, but it is soap. It does clean stuff. And people have bought it and used it and got their clothes clean because of it. So does that mean because Amway itself is a scam the person that sold it should pay their customers back? I don’t believe so.

      The people that should be legally obligated to pay are those that had power and abused others, and I think that was the point of Moira Penza’s case. She was going after those that abused their power.

      Also, though they are consistently the targets for restitution when money comes up, Clare and Sara Bronfman. were not the only wealthy, powerful, and influential people in NXIVM.

      Emiliano Salinas has enormous wealth and power; his wife actress Ludwika Paleta has hundreds of millions in her own right, and Rosa Laura Junco has nearly unlimited wealth at her disposal through her father’s media empire. I have no doubt there are others. And they allowed their names and endorsements to be used as marketing agents to bring in others, like Tom Cruise does for Scientology.

      So if anybody should be voluntarily paying up, it’s them. Especially to those people like Susan Dones and Barbara Bouchey that have had their lives ruined through vexatious litigation. Emiliano, and the other wealthy influencers, were supportive of keith during this time and have all walked away clean from this, so they should at least help with reparations.

      • Great points. What the Deadenders can’t get their thick heads around is that DOS was really doing the most illegal, cowardly, evil, bullying, exploitative bullshit that fully warranted the sentences given out and mainly inspired the lawsuit.

      • Frank Report

        Print Version: Cult of NXIVM: The Relentless Pursuit of Enemies
        January 13, 2016

        The following is the print and online version of the Cult of NXIVM Part 8 which will appear in tomorrow’s edition of the Niagara Falls Reporter and Artvoice:


        NXIVM leader Keith Raniere made it clear that for NXIVM to thrive, its enemies must be destroyed. Lawsuits and criminal indictments were the weapons of choice.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

IMDb — Frank Parlato,_Jr.

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083