Bronfman is the daughter of the late former Seagram’s liquor chairman, billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr.

By Laura Barcella
April 19, 2019 07:39 PM
Mary Altaffer/AP/Shutterstock

On Friday afternoon, Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman pleaded guilty in federal court to charges related to a sex-trafficking conspiracy in the cult-like self-help group Nxivm, her lawyer Mark Geragos confirmed to PEOPLE.

“The RICO and racketeering charges were dismissed with prejudice and she pleaded to harboring an alien and identity theft,” Geragos tells PEOPLE. Bronfman’s sentencing date is in July, Geragos confirmed.

Reuters reports that Bronfman admitted to harboring an illegal immigrant who came to the United States on a false work visa in order to use the woman’s labor for Nxivm. Reuters also reports that she admitted helping the group’s founder, Keith Raniere, use the credit card of a dead woman.

Bronfman is the daughter of the late former Seagram’s liquor chairman, billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr.

The New York Times and other outlets report that in court, Bronfman admitted she was “truly remorseful” for her actions. “I wanted to do good in the world and help people,” she said, according to The Guardian. “However, I have made mistakes.”

The Guardian reports that, as part of her plea, Bronfman has agreed to forfeit $6 million of her fortune. She allegedly also agreed “not to appeal any prison sentence of 27 months or less.”

RELATED VIDEO: Catherine Oxenberg Speaks Out About Nxivm, Her Fight for Her Daughter and New Book

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According to the New York Times, on Friday, another Nxivm member named Kathy Russell pleaded guilty to falsifying a visa application for someone else associated with the group.

And in March, former Nxivm president Nancy Salzman and her daughter, Lauren Salzman, pleaded guilty for their roles in the group. Earlier in April, Allison Mack, an actress best known for her work on the show “Smallville,” pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges.

Mack was charged last spring with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and forced labor conspiracy. Prosecutors accused her of recruiting sex slaves for Keith Raniere, who co-founded Nxivm and its subgroup, DOS, described as an all-female secret society in which women allegedly were forced to be sexually subservient to Raniere.

RELATED: Allison Mack Pleads Guilty in Nxivm Sex Trafficking Case

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One of the group’s most prominent members, Mack faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

“The news of Allison Mack’s guilty plea comes as a full measure of satisfaction and relief,” actress Catherine Oxenberg, whose daughter India Oxenberg was also famously involved with Nxivm, previously said in a statement to PEOPLE. The mother has since become an outspoken critic of the group.

“Nobody else’s children will be targeted, subverted and preyed upon by this manipulative and corrupt criminal enterprise. Allison has finally woken up but at what a cost. This woman had the world at her fingertips and now instead she faces incarceration.”

RELATED: Allison Mack’s Mentor in Controversial Self-Help Group Remains Jailed as He Awaits Sex Abuse Trial

Keith Raniere is currently being held without bail after his March 2018 arrest on sex trafficking charges. He was also charged with forced labor, wire fraud and racketeering. His trial is expected to start later this month.

On March 18, 2019, Raniere entered a not guilty plea to newly filed child pornography charges related to the case, according to the Albany Times Union, CBS News and the Associated Press. Raniere earlier pleaded not guilty to all other charges against him in the case. 

If convicted, Raniere could be sentenced to life in prison.

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