One of the founders and former president behind depraved cult NXIVM, Nancy Salzman, 67, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on Wednesday
Image: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)
The co-founder and ‘right hand’ of a brutal sex cult that turned female followers into slaves and forced them into starvation diets, has been jailed.
One of the founders and former president behind depraved cult NXIVM, Nancy Salzman, has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Previously Salzman, 67, who was also known as ‘prefect’, admitted charges including racketeering conspiracy in her role in the horrific cult.
Remorseless Keith Raniere, who founded the group, has already been convicted of sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labour in June 2019.
He kept women on starvation diets, branded then with his initials and ordered them to have sex with him.
Raniere told US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis he had “no remorse” for the crimes because he “didn’t commit them”.
At a federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday Salzman was jailed and ordered to pay a £108,000 ($150,000) fine, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
Acting US Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said: “In her misguided loyalty and blind allegiance to Keith Raniere, the defendant engaged in a racketeering conspiracy designed to intimidate Nxivm’s detractors and that inflicted harm on Nxivm’s members.
“Today’s sentence holds the defendant accountable for her crimes and we hope that it brings some measure of closure to the vulnerable women who were victimized and abused.
“Serving as Raniere’s right hand for more than a decade, Nancy Salzman’s conduct supported Nxivm’s objectives to recruit victims, stave off critics and alter evidence connected to a federal lawsuit.
“Today’s sentence does little to erase the suffering of Nxivm’s victims, but it serves as another reminder of the government’s commitment to seeing this case through to the end.”
Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Fattorusso welcomed the sentence.
He said: “Today, Nancy Salzman was held accountable for the role she played in this devious criminal enterprise.
“Salzman was essential to the NXIVM criminal enterprise, not merely a peripheral co-defendant.
“As the co-founder with Keith Raniere, Salzman had immense influence on NXIVM, which included conspiracy to commit identity theft and conspiracy to alter records.”
Smallville actress Allison Mack was also previously jailed after she was found guilty of manipulating women into becoming sex slaves for the group’s leader.
She was handed three years in prison for her role.
For more than a decade and until her arrest in July 2018, Salzman was a high-ranking member of a criminal enterprise led by her co-defendant Keith Raniere.
The primary purpose of the enterprise was to promote Raniere and recruit individuals into various purported self-help organizations that Raniere founded, including Nxivm and affiliated programs, and a secret society within Nxivm called “DOS.”
Between August 2005 and November 2008, Salzman, along with Raniere, participated in the unlawful surveillance and investigation of perceived critics and enemies of Raniere and Nxivm.
As part of the scheme, Salzman agreed to unlawfully surveil the perceived enemies in an attempt to gain advantage over them and stop them from criticizing the company.
On March 27, 2018, a search warrant was executed on Salzman’s residence. Law enforcement agents recovered a box containing purported private banking information of many individuals perceived to be critics and enemies of Raniere, including journalists, judges and an expert on cults.
At an earlier hearing victims had previously spoken in court detailing the devastating impact the abuse had had on them.
One woman, identified only as Camila, recounted a 12-year sexual relationship with Raniere starting when she was 15 and he was 45.
“He screwed with my mind for so long that trying to find the strength and clarity to tell my story has been a slow and painful journey,” she said.
One ex member said Raniere once made her get an abortion and forced her to weigh less than 100lbs.
Another, the actress India Oxenberg, told Raniere at his sentencing hearing: “You stole seven years of my life that I’ll never get back.”
She added: “You’re a liar and sadist for getting pleasure watching our skins burn.
“I may have to live the rest of my life with Keith Raniere’s initials on my skin.”