Artwork by MK10ART
Clare Webb Bronfman, 44, is an American heiress and daughter of the late Edgar Bronfman Sr., former Seagram’s CEO.
Like her father, Clare had an executive position. She was COO of the self-help group NXIVM, founded by Keith Raniere, the world’s smartest and most ethical man, Clare believed.
She invested considerable resources to support NXIVM’s activities and pursue critics of the organization through legal and extralegal methods.
She didn’t just sit around and passively support Nxivm. For the sake of the mission, she used her wealth to intimidate and silence ugly people who opposed Raniere or might expose the organization as something that it was not.
She even hacked her father’s email account, calling it a “family dispute.” She allowed Raniere to monitor his communications, believing he was a threat to NXIVM.
She had sufficient assets to help the cause. She filed an affidavit with a federal court that she had $200 million in July 2018. She said she forgot to include about $100 million worth of real estate in Fiji and Los Angeles – a mere oversight.
Bronfman did her best to imprison me and got me indicted in 2015. I faced 20 years.
In response to her efforts, I began the Frank Report. I wrote stories about her and Raniere, who brought the world NXIVM.
I wrote that Bronfman took advantage of non-citizens in precarious financial and immigration statuses and exploited them for labor without proper compensation.
To protect Raniere’s secret MLM sorority, DOS, Bronfman worked hard to prevent members from revealing the secrets by threatening them with imprisonment.
My stories were not flattering, but they caught on, beginning with the New York Times, which led to the DOJ filing an indictment against Bronfman, Raniere, and others in NXIVM.
I wrote she was willing to breach ethical and legal boundaries and made calculated attempts to eliminate adversaries under her master’s exemplary guidance.
She aided and facilitated Raniere’s activities by drafting and disseminating intimidating letters to DOS victims and made public statements that downplayed the seriousness of DOS’s harmful actions.
The FBI arrested Raniere on March 26, 2018. Though he made three applications for bail, the judge denied them. Raniere spent more than a year in custody before his trial.
Clare contributed over $10 million to Raniere’s legal defense, revealing her deep commitment to him, even as evidence of his crimes became undeniable.
The FBI arrested Clare in July 2018. She made a $100 million bail. The judge ordered home detention, which she remained on for two years wearing an ankle monitor.
Bronfman pleaded guilty in April 2019 to two felony counts: harboring an illegal alien for financial gain and identity theft. The felonies stem solely from her involvement with NXIVM.
When Bronfman pleaded guilty, the DOJ estimated the sentencing guidelines ranged between 21-27 months. However, Judge Garaufis warned her before he entered her plea that these guidelines do not bind him. He could sentence her from zero to 25 years for the two crimes combined.
The financial benefit to Bronfman for her financial crimes was piddling when measured against her net worth –$96,000. She made more than that in passive income monthly.
A week before sentencing, Clare wrote a letter to Judge Garaufis.
In her letter, Bronfman expressed remorse for her actions, particularly toward Sylvie, the immigrant she hired for horse care, who eventually became deeply involved in NXIVM.
“Although I wanted to make her life better, I made it worse,” Bronfman wrote. She also apologized to the court, her family, and other victims.
In her letter, Bronfman discusses her hard life struggles, from her relationship with her late father, billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr., to the death of her close friend Pam Cafritz, whose estate was also implicated in the identity theft charge.
“I wish I could turn back the clock or take away the pain, but I can’t,” she wrote.
Then, in a move of stunning stupidity, she stated she would not disavow Keith Raniere. She wrote that despite the controversy, her experience with NXIVM and Keith Raniere improved her life and gave her a sense of community and purpose.
On her last day of her freedom, she headed to court for sentencing. The date was Sept. 30, 2020.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis mentioned the letter she wrote to him and said this underscored her support for Raniere despite increasing evidence of his abuse and exploitation of everyone he ever met.
The judge said Clare was willing to turn a blind eye to allegations of serious misconduct and an enabler who used her wealth to protect and advance an organization involved in criminal activities.
Judge Garaufis sentenced Clare Bronfman to 81 months – triple the sentencing guidelines.
The boomerang goes out, but it comes back. The thief takes a spark of joy followed by a mass of misery.
I disappointed them, failing to get a prison sentence. Bronfman sent – even from prison – six attorneys to witness my sentencing.
But I left the court that day.
Raniere was incarcerated at the time of his arrest. Bronfman was incarcerated at the time of her sentence. I was never incarcerated, not for one minute.
The judge sentenced me to one-year probation, with five months of home detention. I have 146 days left of home detention, and 181 days after that will complete my probation.
The 12 year ordeal Clare Bronfman and Keith Raniere imposed on me will be over.
Clare Bronfman, who first filed the false criminal complaint against me, has been in prison for 1073 days, and with her current release date of June 29, 2025, she has 660 days to go.
Raniere, 63, who prompted Clare to file criminal charges against me as a matter of ethics, was arrested on March 26, 2018.
As a matter of ethics, the judge denied him bail. Raniere has spent 1,989 days in maximum security prisons or detention centers to date.
Currently serving his sentence at USP Tucson, with a release date of June 27, 2120, Raniere has 35,091 days to go before he tastes freedom again. He will be 58,482 days old when he is released.
He and Clare bargained for this result, but perhaps it did not turn out as well as they had hoped.