Keith Raniere has been found guilty of numerous charges related to his role as the founder and leader of NXIVM, the ostensible self-help company that was actually a cult.
Raniere was found guilty on seven counts, including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and attempted sex trafficking. Though he didn’t testify in the case, Raniere’s attorney argued that his relationships with his followers consensual.
Not so, said Richard Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York, who told reporters that Raniere was “truly a modern day Svengali” whose “crimes, and the crimes of his co-conspirators, ruined marriages, careers, fortunes and lives:”
“Raniere, who portrayed himself as a savant and a genius, was in fact, a master manipulator, a con man and the crime boss of a cult-like organization involved in sex trafficking, child pornography, extortion, compelled abortions, branding, degradation and humiliation,” Donoghue added.
Raniere’s guilty verdict marks the closing of at least one chapter of the sprawling NXIVM case, which is bizarre, scary and sad all at once. Its reach included Smallville actress Allison Mack and Seagram’s liquor heiress Clare Bronfman, both of whom were also part of an inner group run by Raniere called DOS, which was said to enslave and abuse young women in a litany of horrific ways.
Raniere will be sentenced on September 25, and faces life in prison. Nancy Salzman, president of NXIVM, has a sentencing hearing scheduled for July 10. Bronfman, who served as NXIVM’s financier, has a hearing July 25.