The extraordinary arrest of Keith Raniere marks the downfall of the leader of an international “self-help” organization that has been headquartered in the Capital Region for roughly two decades. Some experts have described NXIVM as a cult, and the criminal prosecution of Raniere has forced the secretive man who calls himself “Vanguard” out of the shadows and under the spotlight of an ongoing federal criminal investigation. TimesUnion [1]


Raniere, co-founder of NXIVM, was arrested Monday in Mexico and extradited to the U.S., where he is being charged with sex trafficking. He appeared in court Tuesday in Texas and signed a waiver for US Marshals to bring him back to New York.

On Tuesday, the FBI raided the Albany home of Nancy Salzman, 63, a registered nurse and hypnotist who is president of NXIVM. The organization describes itself as a “community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human.” NXIVM’s practices were questioned and the group was compared to a cult by a vast number of sources.

Raniere reportedly fled the U.S. last year after the government started interviewing witnesses. Court documents say he dumped his cell phone and began using encrypted email.  Authorities found him living with several women in a posh gated community in Puerta Vallarta.  “After authorities took him into custody on a U.S. warrant, investigators said that the women got into a high-speed car chase,”   WND [2]

In the 1990s, several states investigated the Raniere-run Consumer Buyline Inc., a marketing firm in which members were paid commissions for recruiting new members.

A 1992 Arkansas lawsuit filed by former Gov. Bill Clinton’s then-attorney general, Winston Bryant, charged Raniere,  Pamela Cafritz (daughter of D.C. A-Listers Buffy and Bill Cafritz) and two others with fraud and business deception. Soon after, then-New York AG Robert Abrams sued CBI, branding it “illegal.”   Raniere didn’t admit wrongdoing, but agreed to pay hefty fines in both states.   After closing the Albany-based CBI, he became involved in a health-food and vitamin venture that led him to Salzman. NYPost [3]

Sharing a passion for motivational training, the pair launched NXIVM in 1998, shortly after Consumers’ Buyline, his multimillion-dollar discount buying club in Halfmoon, collapsed under allegations it was a pyramid scheme.  Numerous people who worked for Raniere at Consumers’ Buyline went on to work for NXIVM, including Kristen M. Keeffe (a founder member and former executive board member of NXIVM) and Toni F. Foley, (a former girlfriend of Raniere’s and a co-defendant of Bouchey’s in the computer trespassing case). TimesUnion[4]

“In the three and a half years leading up to where I left, I was a spy,” Keeffe said during the conversation. “And I went to great lengths to make them think I was going along with things with the exception of trying to deprogram Nancy and a couple of other people that l was close to that were not close to Keith.”

Clinton-Linked Cult Leader Who Hot-Branded Women Arrested For Sex Trafficking


Of note, Smallville actress Allison Mack who played Chloe Sullivan is (or was) allegedly a “master” in the cult, and required to obey orders from Raniere – including finding women to sleep with him. TheSun [5]

Mack would require that prospective “slaves” place compromising collateral into a Dropbox account — one of whom was India Oxenberg, the daughterr of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg – who met with prosecutors in New York and presented evidence against Raniere. Zero [6]    Fulcrum[7]


The Heiress Bonfham sisters wound up sinking $150 million of their family’s fortune into the group called Nxivm, even as it was dogged for years by reports of cult-like abuse, including recruiting new members as “slaves” and branding of women to enforce loyalty.

Raniere urged the two sisters to reach out to their father and bring him in. So, in the early part of 2003 Edgar Bronfman Sr. took a five-day “V.I.P.” course, that cost $10,000 and was taught by Nxivm’s president, Nancy Salzman.

And he, too, was apparently taken with the program. “If everyone were to go through this training, the world would be a much better and safer place to live,” Edgar Bronfman Sr. reportedly wrote in a testimonial after the intensive course. “We learned to look deep into our psyches, to get rid of hang-ups that had plagued us for years.”

But he soon had a falling-out with the organization, perhaps when Claire Bronfman told her father that the group had borrowed $2 million of her money.  The father cut ties with the group — and also drifted away from his daughters.

During an extravagant celebration of Raniere’s birthday in August of that year, Sara and Clare presented Raniere with check for $20 million — purportedly to finance Raniere’s “scientific research.”  Months later they bought a jet for the group. In early 2005 they started covering Raniere’s financial losses in commodities.

The Bronfmans’ ties to the group remained somewhat under the radar until a scheduled 2009 visit from the Dalai Lama thrust them — and some of the more unseemly stories about Nxivm — into the headlines.  The Dalai Lama initially cancelled the visit amidst the controversy — but did attend an inaugural event of a Raniere-connected non-profit founded by Sara and Clare Bronfman later that year. Forward [8]

NXIVM hacked billionaire’s emails with Hillary Clinton, world leaders

The computer of the late Edgar M. Bronfman Sr., a billionaire businessman and former president of the World Jewish Congress, was allegedly hacked by officials with NXIVM, which has been described by one expert as an “exreme cult,” according to court records

Clare Bronfman, pictured here in 2011, has been accused by a former NXIVM associate of implanting a virus on her late father’s computer. The virus, called a key-stroke logger, was allegedly used by NXIVM officials to secretly monitor the emails of Edgar Bronfman, Sr. (Photo by: Lori Van Buren) TimesUnion [4]

Clintons received cash from ‘cult’ leaders who brainwashed sex slaves

It’s a bizarre and twisted tale of brainwashed sex “slaves” who were branded with a leader’s initials on their private parts – and top executives of the secretive group in upstate New York reportedly pumped thousands of dollars into Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

A criminal complaint charging Raniere, 57, with sex trafficking alleges that he made female followers have sex with him and do menial chores for masters. The women were reportedly forced to stay quiet about the arrangement or they would be publicly humiliated.

According to the complaint, victims were branded in their pelvic areas with a symbol featuring Raniere’s initials. The branding was performed with a cauterizing device.

“During the branding ceremonies, slaves were required to be fully naked, and the master would order one slave to film with the other held down the slave being branded,” the legal document states, according to CBS News.
“Investigators said that Raniere preferred exceptionally thin women, so ‘slaves’ had to stick to very low-calorie diets and document every food they ate,” CBS reported. “As punishment for not following orders, women were forced to attend classes where they were ‘forced to wear fake cow udders over their breasts while people called them derogatory names,’ or threatened with being put in cages, court papers say.”

The NXIVM website describes Raniere as a “scientist, mathematician, philosopher, entrepreneur, educator, inventor and author” who has “devoted his life to studying the human psychodynamic and developing new tools for human empowerment, expression and ethics.”

Senior FBI official William Sweeney told BBC News: “Keith Raniere displayed a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves. He allegedly participated in horrifying acts of branding and burning them, with the co-operation of other women operating within this unorthodox pyramid scheme. These serious crimes against humanity are not only shocking, but disconcerting to say the least, and we are putting an end to this torture today.”

In 2017, Raniere denied the claims against him in a letter on his website, stating, “These allegations are most disturbing to me as non-violence is one of my most important values.”

In October 2007, then-New York Post writer Charles Hurt reported that leaders of the Albany group gave thousands to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. And Salzman, the woman whose home was reportedly raided by the FBI, is reportedly a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.  Salzman also contributed nearly $1,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $400 to the pro-abortion group Emily’s List.  WND [2]

NYP writer Charles Hurt reported:

Executives and top associates of the Albany-based NXIVM group – along with their family members – donated $29,900 to Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to federal records.

On March 14 and April 13, records show, more than a dozen contributions poured into Clinton’s coffers from NXIVM, an executive and group-awareness training organization led by Brooklyn-born Keith Raniere, 47.

Most were from first-time political donors, each giving the $2,300 maximum. …

At least three of them – group President Nancy Salzman and the Bronfman sisters – are members of Bill’s charitable organization, the Clinton Global Initiative. Membership is by invitation only and requires at least a $15,000 donation per person for one year.


NYPost [3]

The Times Union also reported:

The nonprofit Ethical Science Foundation was formed in 2007 by Clare E. Bronfman, who owns a horse farm in Delanson and is listed in public records as the trustee and donor of the foundation.

At the request of the attorney general’s office, a state Supreme Court justice recently signed an order directing Bronfman and Dr. Brandon B. Porter, who is involved with NXIVM and conducted the human studies, to turn over all documentation associated with the research, including any written communications, videos, conclusions, consent forms and the names and addresses of “individuals associated with Ethical Science Foundation who participated in any manner with the studies.”


Keith Raniere, founder of NXIVM, entering the Dalai Lama event and moments before being served with court papers at the Palace Theater in downtown Albany on Wed., May 6, 2009 (left)

Nancy Salzman, NXIVM’s president, during an          interview Silver Bay Center on Lake George, for       Vanguard week, Tuesday August 27, 2003. (right)

Barbara Bouchey, former NXIVM executive board member and girlfriend of Raniere, has been relentlessly attacked with ligitation from NXIVM after her departure. (below)

 Toni Natalie, a former girlfriend of Keith Raniere (left)

Sara Bronfman at a news conference to discuss the schedule of events for the Dalai Lama’s upcoming visit to Albany (right)

Nancy Salzman (below)


Keith Raniere (left and right)

Sign outside the NXIVM offices at 455 New Karner Road in Colonie (below)


The federal criminal complaint accuses Raniere of forming a group within NXIVM in which women said they were coerced into joining a slave-master club. The women, some of whom said they were pressured to have sex with Raniere, told federal authorities that a female doctor associated with NXIVM used a cauterizing iron to brand them with a design on their lower abdomen that contained the initials of Raniere and Allison Mack, an actress and NXIVM associate who is listed in the complaint as an unnamed co-conspirator.  TimesUnion [1]

Women say they were branded and traumatized by secret group’s doctors

CBS News [9]

EXCERPTS from Document Cloud below:

DocumentCloud [10]

Author’s reminiscences: Bronfman horse farm at my disposal

This was well before the media learned about the draining of more than $100 million of the Bronfman’s money in dubious investments and litigation under the guidance of Raniere. Nor did they know about Raniere’s curious sexual encounters some of which were with females under the age of consent.
While I came to learn about his harem, [but not the underage women] I realized he was a polygamist who kept it a secret to most of his students.
As for my discovery of his plundering of the Bronfman fortune, that led to my being fired and being a target of Raniere.
Back in those days, I knew very little. I observed that his women would weep about the injustices they felt Keith was enduring – such purity and goodness so misunderstood.
They had mystical interpretations of these matters: that some world-shaking consequence was sure to come out this suffering: since Raniere was the equal of Buddha or Christ, his pain was a Crucifixion. [11]

Raniere is expected to be transferred to New York authorities following Tuesday’s Texas court appearance. During their request that he be held without bond, federal prosecutors said he “has spent his life profiting from his pyramid schemes and has otherwise received financial backing from independently wealthy women.”

He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison if convicted of the sex trafficking charges, according to federal prosecutors – who say he poses a “significant risk of flight” due to his “access to vast resources,” and his “long-standing history of systematically exploiting women through coercive practices for his own financial and sexual benefit.” ZeroHedge [6]


This was submitted after publication for your review…


[1]  Times Union

[2] WND

[3] NYPost

[4] Times Union

[5] The Sun

[6] ZeroHedge

[7] Fulcrum News

[8] Forward

[9] CBSNews

[10] DocumentCloud

[11] FrankReport