The heiress to Canadian beverage empire Seagram was sentenced to more than six years in prison by a New York court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to a cult-related sex trafficking scandal.
The 81-month prison sentence against Clare Bronfman (41) was seen as particularly harsh, as the prosecutors themselves had only asked for five years in prison.
Bronfman pleaded guilty last year to credit card fraud and housing illegal immigrants on behalf of the Nxivm “support group”, whose founder Keith Raniere was found guilty in June 2019 of keeping between 15 and 20 sex slaves for years.
Prosecutors said Bronfman spent tens of millions of dollars to support the group known as Nxivm – pronounced “Nexium”.
“There can be little doubt that Raniere could not have committed the crimes of which he was convicted had it not been for powerful allies like Bronfman,” prosecutors said.
Her defense had hoped she could avoid jail time and asked for a three-year suspended sentence.
Her lawyers said that although she pleaded guilty of credit card fraud and hosted illegal immigrants for the group, she knew nothing of the sexual abuse that Raniere had committed in a group made up of “masters” parallel to Nxivm called DOS . and “slaves”.
She said she only knew about the positive side of the Albany, New York-based organization that supposedly teaches classes on women’s empowerment.
Of the six people charged in the 2018 scandal, Bronfman was the first to receive her sentence.
Prosecutors have asked Raniere for a life in prison, which will be sentenced on October 27th.
Four others have pleaded guilty, including actress Allison Mack from the series “Smallville”, who admitted two cases of extortion in April 2019.
The dramatic story was the subject of two screen adjustments: HBO’s recently released documentary series “The Vow” and “Escaping the Nxivm Cult,” a 2019 Lisa Robinson film that focuses on the testimony of a mother working on hers Save daughter from the organization.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)