Two women who were part of an alleged pyramid scheme that involved sex trafficking and racketeering each pleaded guilty to related charges in a New York federal court.
Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram’s liquor fortune, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal and harbor people who were not in the United States legally for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification while Kathy Russell pleaded guilty to one charge of visa fraud.
Bronfman and Russell were indicted in March on racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges as part of the cult-like organization known as Nxivm, founded by Keith Raniere, who also was indicted and is now in federal custody.
He faces sex trafficking and forced labor charges. Bronfman was a member of the Nxivm executive board, according to a US Justice Department news release, and faces between 21 and 27 months in prison. Russell is Nxivm’s former bookkeeper and faces between six and 12 months in prison.
Bronfman, who will be sentenced July 25, tearfully read a statement in court during her plea hearing.