Seagram’s liquor heiress and Nxivm cult member Clare Bronfman was sentenced to more than six years in prison in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday for her role in the upstate cult.
The daughter of late Canadian billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr. pleaded guilty last year to charges related to the notorious group and its sex-trafficking svengali, Keith Raniere.
Bronfman, 41, faced 30 months behind bars under federal sentencing guidelines for charges of conspiracy to conceal and harbor an illegal alien for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification, although prosecutors had sought twice that.
“There can be little doubt that Raniere would not have been able to commit the crimes with which he was convicted were it not for powerful allies like Bronfman,” they wrote in recent court documents.
A judge on Wednesday ultimately handed down a sentence of 81 months in prison.
She is the first person to be sentenced in the case. Four others, including the convicted Raniere and former “Smallville” TV actress Allison Mack, who pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges, are still awaiting their fates.
As a high-level member of Nxivm, Bronfman recruited young women into the country illegally, prosecutors said.
She made one of the women her personal assistant — and would instruct her by e-mail on how to make oatmeal for her dogs, court papers said.
Bronfman, once a top equestrian with her sights set on the Olympics, also recruited a wannabe professional horse-rider into Nxivm — but the woman was eventually groomed for Raniere’s perverted sexual pleasure, according to court testimony.
The woman told the court during Raniere’s trial that she became a “slave” in a secret sub-group of Nxivm called DOS — then was ordered to “seduce” Raniere.
Bronfman used some of her massive $210 million fortune to fund Nxivm, as well as silence Raniere’s victims and perceived enemies of Nxivm, according to court papers.
As part of her plea deal with prosecutors, she agreed to forfeit $6 million.
Bronfman’s lawyers had been seeking three years’ probation for her, noting in a filing on Monday that she may have a serious liver disorder. They denied she knew anything about DOS.
Her lawyers, Ron Sullivan and Duncan Levin, claimed in court papers that the feds were “seeking to lay the blame for DOS at [her] feet because she has a large checkbook.”
Some of Raniere’s victims testified at his trial that they were starved, branded like cattle with his initials and forced to have sex with him. If they refused, they were whipped and subjected to other humiliating punishments, according to trial testimony.
Raniere, 60, was found guilty of charges including racketeering and sex-trafficking last year. He faces up to life in prison when sentenced next month.
Bronfman’s lawyers had said in court papers that their client still “stands by both the organization and Mr. Raniere for the tremendous good they did for thousands of people.”
Mack, who was Raniere’s primary henchwoman and served as one of DOS’s masters, pleaded guilty to racketeering, and is yet to be sentenced.
Nxivm president Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren Salzman, and the organization’s bookkeeper Kathy Russell each copped to charges ranging from racketeering to visa fraud.
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