Clare Bronfman, the cashed-up benefactor of ‘self-help guru’ Keith Raniere and NXIVM has been sentenced to seven years in prison for her involvement in the bankrolling of the sex cult.
As per The Guardian, Bronfman, who is one of the heirs to the enormous Seagram’s liquor fortune, pled guilty last year to committing credit card fraud for Raniere and for holding an undocumented immigrant for unpaid “labour and services”, which definitely doesn’t sound dodgy at all.
Despite this, she refused to wash her hands of Raniere and the NXIVM group, because it apparently changed her life for the better since her introduction to the group by her sister Sara.
During her trial in New York this week, Bronfman’s lawyers tried to lessen her charges and sentencing by arguing that she had no direct involvement in the cult’s most alarming allegations – including sex slavery and branding the cult’s sub-group members with Raniere and Allison Mack‘s initials.
However, the court determined that Raniere could not have committed his NXIVM crimes without the financial support of powerful benefactors like Bronfman.
She was taken into custody to begin serving her sentence as soon as the trial ended and also has agreed to pay US $6m (AU $8.3m) as part of her plea. Prosecutors are also looking for a further US $500k (AU $696k) fine from the 41-year-old heir.
It’s reported that Bronfman had been associated with NXIVM for many years, donating tens of millions of dollars so the group’s self-improvement classes could continue, and also provided money for Raniere to lawyer up when the group had a lawsuit filed against it.
The new HBO docuseries The Vow explores the NXIVM group from former members and a mother who is trying to get her daughter out of the group. The series originally focused on five members while they were trying to leave the notorious group, as a way to have a copy of everything on tape in case Bronfman attempted to sue them.
The nine-part series is currently streaming on Binge in Australia, with the finale locked in for October 15.