Seagram’s Heiress Clare Bronfman Sentenced For Her Role In Nxivm Sex-Cult Case

A Brooklyn federal court judge has ordered the multimillionaire to spend 81 months behind bars.

October 01, 2020

Clare Bronfman arrives at federal court in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. [Bloomburg/Getty Contributor]

Clare Bronfman arrives at federal court in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. [Bloomburg/Getty Contributor]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A Brooklyn federal court judge on Wednesday sentenced Seagram’s liquor heiress Clare Bronfman to 81 months in prison and ordered her to pay a $500,000 fine for the part she played in the cult-like self-help group Nxivm.

Bronfman, 41, “used her incredible wealth and attempted to use her social status and connections not only to support Nxivm’s work, but also as a means of intimidating, threatening, and exacting revenge upon individuals who dared to challenge its dogma,” Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis said at the more than four-hour Sept. 30 hearing, according to the New York Post.

Bronfman’s nearly seven-year sentence exceeds both the 27 months required by the government’s guidelines and the five years prosecutors had requested.

In April 2019, the multimillionaire pleaded guilty to two charges related to immigration fraud and identity theft from her years aiding Nxivm leader and convicted sex-trafficker Keith Raniere, 60.

Prosecutors alleged Bronfman brought women into the United States illegally and that it was only because of support from her $210 million fortune that Raniere was able to commit his crimes, which included coercing victims who were part of the Nxivm master-slave group DOS into having sex.

Prosecutors have estimated Bronfman spent over $100 million on Nxivm since she first joined the group in 2003, according to The New York Times.

“Ms. Bronfman came to learn details about DOS and faced a choice as to whose interests she would protect: Raniere’s or his victims’,” Judge Garaufis said at sentencing. “She chose Raniere unequivocally, and to this day she has not clearly apologized.”

Bronfman told the court she was “immensely grateful and privileged” to know that “all over the world, people are praying for me because they know my goodness.”

“It doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes,” she added.

Bronfman defense attorney Ronald Sullivan called the 81-month sentence an “abomination” and said he would appeal, The New York Times reported.

Raniere will be sentenced on Oct. 27. He was convicted in June 2019 of sex-trafficking, human trafficking, conspiracy, forced labor and other charges and faces a prison sentence of anywhere from 15 years to life.

Next Up

Jeffrey Epstein Associate Ghislaine Maxwell Pleads Not Guilty In Sex Crimes Case

A New York City judge has set a trial date and denied the British socialite’s request for bail.

Barry Levine's Journey From Covering the Son of Sam to Uncovering What You Didn't Know About Jeffrey Epstein

The Spider author Barry Levine reveals how he started covering crime stories, the real-time challenges in writing about Epstein, and why he likes ID's Deadly Women.

Video: NXIVM Survivor Describes Branding Experience

“Keith Raniere, even though he’s a sociopath he’s also very brilliant…”

The Spider

Who was Jeffrey Epstein? A Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist unearths never-before-reported details in the most comprehensive account yet of the disgraced financier’s life, death, and criminal web, including the role of Ghislaine Maxwell.

Boo! Actual Crimes Committed In Haunted House Attractions

Creepy clowns, sex-toy scares, and assault: When fake haunted house frights cross over into real crimes.

Caught! In Pursuit Viewer Helps US Marshals Nab Former Youth Minister in Mexico

One brave viewer of In Pursuit With John Walsh in Mexico was able to identify and tip off authorities to the whereabouts of alleged sexual predator and former youth minister Jeffrey Forrest.

Parents Take Down Voyeur Caught Spying On Teen Girl In Cracker Barrel Bathroom, Police Say

“The guy came running, sprinting out the front door with a very bloody nose,” a witness reveals of the incident in South Carolina.

Guy In Makeup Allegedly Caught Filming In Women's Bathroom

Shawn Thomas Hallett, 38, was arrested and charged with voyeurism after police subsequently found a video of the woman on his phone.