The Smallville actress apologized in Brooklyn federal court Monday after pleading guilty to racketeering charges
Smallville actress Allison Mack tearfully apologized in court Monday for her involvement with the controversial, cult-like self-help group Nvixm after pleading guilty to racketeering charges, saying, “I’m very sorry for who I’ve hurt,” multiple outlets report.
Mack, 36, appeared in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Brooklyn, New York, where she pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering and one count of racketeering conspiracy, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District confirms to PEOPLE.
Crying as she addressed the court, Mack said, “I have come to the conclusion that I must take full responsibility for my conduct and that’s why I am pleading guilty today,” Vulture reports.
Prosecutors had accused her of recruiting sex slaves for Keith Raniere, who co-founded Nxivm and its subgroup, DOS, described as an all-female secret society of “masters” and “slaves” in which women allegedly were forced to be sexually subservient to Raniere.
“I’m very sorry for the victims of this case,” Mack said, the New York Daily News reported in a Tweet from court.
“I’m very sorry for who I’ve hurt through my misguided adherence to Keith Raniere’s teachings,” she said, according to Vulture.
“Alison Mack’s life is in ruins and I can’t help but feel sadness for her. At the same time, she had to be stopped. What she participated in was dangerous and criminal,” actress Catherine Oxenberg, whose daughter India was also famously involved with Nxivm, said in a statement to PEOPLE.
Mack’s guilty plea came on the day jury selection in her trial was set to begin.
Best known for her years-long role as a young Superman’s friend, Chloe Sullivan, on The WB’s Smallville, Mack was charged last spring with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy.
She initially pleaded not guilty.
One of the most prominent members of Nvixm, the actress was among six people accused of sex trafficking, forced labor, racketeering and other charges for the group, which operated out of Albany but suspended operations last spring.
It has been described by at least one former member as a “cult.”
Mack faces 15 years to life in prison. She will be sentenced on Sept. 11.
Last month a judge denied a request by Mack’s lawyer to delay her trial so he could have more time to negotiate a plea deal, local station CBS New York reports.
Federal investigators had accused Mack of recruiting women into DOS, which was purported to be a female mentorship group to address members’ weaknesses but was, allegedly, a group created by Raniere to take advantage of women sexually.
“The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants’ benefit,” Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, alleged in a statement issued at the time of Mack’s arrest, referring to both Mack and Raniere.
“Slaves” in the alleged operation described Mack as “incredibly intimidating, cruel and punitive,” a source close to two former DOS members told The Hollywood Reporter in a cover story published last May.
Raniere earlier pleaded not guilty to all other charges against him in the case. A fifth defendant, the Seagram liquor fortune heiress Clare Bronfman, likely will be the only one besides Raniere to go to trial, Bronfman’s attorney Mark Geragos has said in court, CBS News reports.
Mack, along with two other defendants — former Nxvim bookkeeper Kathy Russell and Lauren Salzman, the daughter of Raniere’s second-in-command Nancy Salzman — had been in “active plea negotiations” with prosecutors, according to the statement in court on March 18 by Assistant U.S. Attorney Moira Penza, reports the Associated Press.
On March 29, Lauren Salzman pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges in an unannounced court hearing, CBS News reports.
Nancy Salzman, who co-founded Nxvim with Raniere, pleaded guilty on March 13 to racketeering conspiracy in the case, insisting to a judge that despite her plea, “I still believe some of what we did was good,” reports the Times Union.
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Nxivm has been the subject of scrutiny from both law enforcement and journalists after it came under fire from Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, whose estranged daughter, India, joined the group in 2011.
Oxenberg first opened up to PEOPLE in 2017 about how she believed India had been “brainwashed” by Nxivm.
In February, a federal judge denied a third request for bail from Raniere. As a result, he will remain behind bars until at least April 29 — the scheduled start of his trial on sex trafficking and forced labor charges.
Raniere, who was arrested in March 2018, faces the same charges plus wire fraud and racketeering. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
Bronfman was charged last July with racketeering conspiracy in connection to her involvement with the group. She has pleaded not guilty and was released on a $100 million bond, according to the Associated Press.
Calls to Mack’s attorney were not immediately returned.