The daughter of Jewish billionaire philanthropist and former Seagram liquor owner Edgar Bronfman Sr. was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison on Wednesday over her involvement in the NXIVUM sex trafficking group.
The sentencing in the New York court was the first in the NXIVUM sex cult scandal, which saw the company's leader Keith Raniere brainwash unpaid migrants into sexual relations.
Clare Bronfman reportedly spent over $150 million dollars to fund the self-proclaimed multi-level marketing firm and was accused of being Raniere's benifactor. She plead guilty to credit card fraud, fraudulent use of identification and harboring immigrants for “labor and services.”
The 41-year-old Seagram's scion maintained she was only aware of the women’s empowerment aspect of the group. "I never meant to hurt anyone, however I have, and for this I am deeply sorry," she said.
Other people convicted include actress Allison Mack, who was introduced into the group by fellow "Smallville" actress Kristin Kreuk.
Mack also pleaded guilty in 2019 to racketeering, while Kreuk left the organization several years ago. Kreuk has said she knew nothing about the company's illicit practices.
Nxivm was established by Raniere and Nancy Salzman, both of whom were found guilty in 2019. Salzman, a hypnotist, developed the so-called “self-help” method called "Executive Success Program" in 1997 before teaming up with Raniere the following year.
Raniere described Nxivm as “a methodology that allows people to optimize their experience and behavior.” Their website also describes it as a “community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human.”
Meanwhile, members of the group were recruited into a secret society called The Vow or DOS, which stands for Dominus Obsequious Sororium - allegedly meaning “master over slave.” Women who had entered the group allegedly were branded and forced into sexual slavery.
Bronfman’s late father, Edgar Bronfman Sr., was in the past quoted in Forbes magazine saying, “I think it’s a cult.” Bronfman Sr. was a longtime World Jewish Congress chairman before his death in 2013.
The Bronfman family has a long history of being one of the most prominent North American Jewish philanthropists, with numerous buildings in Israel named after family members.
The article was reprinted with permission from i24NEWS