Elias Toufexis befriended Mack on the set of Smallville

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An actor who befriended Allison Mack while working on Smallville is shocked about the sex trafficking charges the actress faces in connection with her affiliation with the controversial self-help group Nxivm, which one former member has described as a “cult.”

“Allison and my wife Michelle Boback-Toufexis and I were good friends on and off set,” Elias Toufexis tells PEOPLE.

Toufexis appeared on three episodes of the show between 2004 and 2010, playing three different characters.

“We had no idea of her involvement in any of this and it has all taken us aback,” Toufexis says.

“She was always the type of person who had self-help books and recommendations for us and the like, but she never approached me or my wife for anything specific,” Toufexis adds. “The news was a complete surprise to both of us. It’s a shame.”

On Tuesday, Mack, 35, was escorted away from a Brooklyn, New York, federal court after posting a $5 million bond for her release. A condition of her bond requires she remain under house arrest at her parents’ home when she returns to California.

She has also been barred from having any contact with anyone currently or formerly affiliated with Nxivm.

Both are accused of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy for their alleged roles in running a secretive sub-group within Nxivm involving “masters” and “slaves.”

Actress Allison Mack Appears In Court Over Case Involving Alleged Sex Cult
Allison Mack leaving court Tuesday
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Elias Toufexis
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Both have pleaded not guilty and face 15 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Mack appeared for 10 years as Chloe Sullivan on Smallville. Her next court date, a status conference on her case, is set for May 3.

The criminal complaint against Raniere — who authorities say was known as “Vanguard” to his followers — alleges that he encouraged the formation of a secretive subgroup within Nxivm called “Dominus Obsequious Sororium,” (DOS) in which women were coerced into serving as sex slaves to their male masters.

Prosecutors allege that her role in the DOS group, Mack made new recruits provide “collateral” — defined by prosecutors as “highly-damaging information about friends and family members, nude photographs and/or rights to the recruit’s assets.”

The collateral, prosecutors allege, gave Mack leverage with which to blackmail slaves if they told people of DOS’ existence or tried to leave the group.

Prosecutors allege the women were branded with Raniere’s initials, as he “alone forms the top of the pyramid as the highest master.”

Prosecutors claim that during ceremonies in which her slaves were branded, Mack “placed her hands on the slaves’ chests and told them to ‘feel the pain’ and to ‘think of [their] master,’ as the slaves cried with pain.”