Clare Bronfman, who's featured in HBO's The Vow, sentenced in Nxivm 'sex cult' case
The chickens have come home to roost for Clare Bronfman, the Seagram's liquor heiress who helped bankroll the multi-level market company known as Nxivm.
Bronfman, 41, was sentenced to 81 months in prison by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis on Wednesday for conspiracy to conceal and harbor aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of personal identification information. She will also have to pay a $500,000 fine and $96,605 in restitution to an unnamed victim.
Her role as a high-ranking member within Nxivm's executive board was documented in HBO's The Vow. The true-crime docuseries gives viewers a look into the MLM, which was originally billed as a self-improvement group that requires participants to pay exorbitant fees to partake in personal and professional development courses.
Under the leadership of founder Keith Raniere, Nxivm sprouted a secret sect known as the Vow within its own larger entity where women were branded with Raniere's initials, forced to partake in strict low-calorie diets, and become his sex "slaves." Both Nxivm and the Vow required members to recruit others to join.
Raniere was convicted in 2019 for racketeering, sex trafficking, conspiracy, forced labor, identity theft, sexual exploitation of a child, and possession of child pornography. He is due to be sentenced in October and faces up to life in prison.
Former actress Allison Mack, who was Raniere's alleged lover and co-conspirator according to the series, pleaded guilty in April 2019 to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges. Mack, who recruited women to join Raniere's sex sorority under the guise of a female empowerment group, details in The Vow that women gained entry by sharing damaging information or explicit photos/video and the rights to their properties to be used as blackmail if they ever wanted to cut ties with the group.
Even with the multiple convictions in this case for Raniere, Mack, and other co-conspirators, there are still Nxivm members who decry the courts' decisions. One of the most outspoken is Mack's wife, Nicki Clyne, also a former actress who says she has no regrets for having been involved with Raniere, reports CBS News. "I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything," she said.
The other is Bronfman herself. She spoke of her continued devotion to Raniere and Nxivm in a letter written to a judge last month, according to The New York Times,
“Many people, including most of my own family, believe I should disavow Keith and Nxivm, and that I have not is hard for them to understand and accept,” she wrote. “However, for me, Nxivm and Keith greatly changed my life for the better.”
The Vow currently airs on HBO.