(JTA) — Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman was sentenced to more than six years in prison for her involvement in a self-help organization that has been accused of being a sex cult.
Bronfman, 41, was sentenced Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court for assisting the Nxivm group. She was not a member, but was estimated to have spent at least $116 million to help the group, according to The New York Times.
She pleaded guilty in April 2019 to harboring an undocumented immigrant for financial gain and committing credit card fraud on behalf of Keith Raniere, Nxivm’s leader. Prosecutors say some Nxivm members were forced to have sex with Raniere and were branded with his initials.
Bronfman was given a longer sentence than the five years requested by prosecutors. She was also fined $500,000.
“I am troubled by evidence suggesting that Ms. Bronfman repeatedly and consistently leveraged her wealth and social status as a means of intimidating, controlling, and punishing” Nxivm’s enemies, Judge Nicholas Garaufis said at the sentencing.
Bronfman and five others, including Raniere, were indicted in March 2018. Raniere was found guilty of sex trafficking, forced labor and other felonies during a trial last year.
Her late father, Edgar Bronfman Sr., was a scion and longtime head of the Seagram’s Company, at one point the largest distiller of alcoholic beverages in the world. Bronfman was president of the World Jewish Congress for many years and was a major supporter of an array of Jewish causes, including the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, where he was a board member, and JTA’s partner site MyJewishLearning, which he founded in 2003.
Edgar Bronfman died in 2013 at age 84.