Federal District Court judge in Brooklyn sentenced Seagram’s heiress, Clare Bronfman, to six years and nine months in prison on Wednesday, according to the New York Times.
The 41-year-old multimillionaire colluded with NXIVM’s leader, Keith Raniere, in committing crimes, like forced labor, extortion, and s*x trafficking, per Al Jazeera.
Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis said he felt “troubled by the evidence” presented to him, the New York Times reported.
The evidence clearly “suggests that Bronfman leveraged her wealth and social status” to perpetually “intimidate” and “manipulate” detractors, the judge added.
Bronfman: NXIVM Changed my Life
Bronfman describes herself as “socially anxious” and an individual full of “self-loathing, insecurities, shame, and fears,” per the Post.
NXIVM and Keith Raniere, however, transformed her, Bronfman said.
Furthermore, Bronfman believed she became more than just an heiress, per Washington Post.
Before her sentencing, Bronfman wrote a letter to Federal District Court Judge Garaufis, which was published by Daily Mail.
The liquor heiress wrote that almost her whole life, she was “ashamed of her wealth.”
Her family fortune made her “different” even though all she just wants is “acceptance.”
She added that “through Keith’s guidance” she stopped feeling ashamed of her wealth, and further “embrace the responsibility of it.”
The S*x Cult with Self-Help Facade
NXIVM, on its website, described itself as “a community guided by humanitarian principles.”
Not to mention, it sought to “empower people” and illuminate “what it means to be human” reports BBC.
The organization has a tagline: “working to build a better world.”
However, last year, the court convicted its leader of grooming women as his s**ual partners.
Bronfman’s lawyer said the heiress had no knowledge, much less, fund any s*x cult, per the Post.
Judge Garaufis read Bronfman’s sentence and declared that her “crimes were not committed in a vacuum,” per the Post.
The judge also said that he could not ignore Bronfman’s “close relationship with Raniere.”
I have no idea “how many other multimillionaires” dedicate their “limitless resources” in supporting “pyramid schemes,” said Garaufis.
Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Bronfman’s lawyer, gave a statement about the sentencing to the Washington Post.
It is an “abomination,” said Sullivan.
He added that they will file an appeal.