Although there has been a good deal of speculation about what type of punishment might be meted out to Keith Raniere and his co-defendants should they be found guilty or accept plea deals, most of it has focused on how long they might be incarcerated: 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 20 years, life?
But in addition to being incarcerated for a period of time, it’s quite possible that these same individuals could end up being ordered to pay fines and/or paying restitution to their victims. They could even be ordered to reimburse the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the cost of their prosecution.
Per the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Voluntary Guidelines, for example, anyone who is convicted of money laundering can be ordered to pay twice the value of the money laundered (up to $500,000).
Other crimes that can result in fines include identity theft, extortion, forced labor, obstruction of justice, sex trafficking, and wire fraud. If these sound familiar, it’s because they’re some of the crimes that have already been alleged against Raniere and his co-defendants (The expectation is that they’ll be a lot more alleged crimes – and several more named defendants – in the next superseding indictment).
When it comes to restitution, the judge will either be mandated – or permitted – to order it. Whether it’s mandatory or permissive depends on the particular crime.
18 U.S.C. § 3663 allows the judge to order restitution for certain crimes. More specifically, here’s what that statute allows in part:
(a)(1) The court, when sentencing a defendant, … may order … the defendant make restitution to any victim…
(2) … a victim …. means any person directly harmed by the defendant’s criminal conduct…
(3) The court may also order restitution … agreed to by the parties in a plea agreement [and among other things]. … pay … necessary medical… psychiatric, and psychological care… [and]… reimburse the victim for income lost…
18 U.S.C. § 3663A, on the other hand, requires the judge to order restitution for the following types of crimes:
This section shall apply in all sentencing proceedings for convictions of, or plea agreements relating to charges for, any offense–
(A) that is–
(i) a crime of violence, as defined in section 16 [18 USCS § 16];
(ii) an offense against property under this title, or under section 416(a) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 856(a)), including any offense committed by fraud or deceit; or
(iii) an offense described in section 1365 [18 USCS § 1365] (relating to tampering with consumer products); and
(B) in which an identifiable victim or victims has suffered a physical injury or pecuniary loss.
What does all this mean for the NXIVM defendants? Well, given that Raniere claims he has no assets or income, probably not very much for him. And given their limited assets and income, that’s probably also true for Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, and, of course, the hapless Kathy Russell. And even though Allison Mack has some residual income from her former acting career, her future earning power is probably not going to generate a lot of income for her or her victims.
So, who does that leave? Clare Bronfman, who claims in her bail package to have a net worth of $200 million (Many believe that a forensic accounting would find another $200 million stashed away in offshore accounts).
Clarebear may take a plea deal – since that would allow her to negotiate her ultimate fines and restitution.
Funny, before she met her Vanguard, she was a competitive horse jumper. Her friends were the horses and the people in that sport. As far as is known, they never tried to talk her into committing crimes.
If she’s convicted at trial – and the judge takes into account all of her victims – the only horse she’ll be able to afford to ride in the future might be that one on the carousel down at the arcade.