For the first time in nearly 20-years – and probably quite a bit longer – Nancy Salzman was forced to tell the truth on Wednesday when she stood before U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis and pleaded guilty to one count of Racketeering Conspiracy and two racketeering acts.
Although it’s standard practice for a federal judge to remind a defendant who is entering a guilty plea that they will face perjury charges if they lie during their allocution, it was particularly appropriate for Judge Garaufis to remind Salzman about that outcome.
That’s because Salzman has been lying non-stop for so long.
And though she lied throughout the time that she was part of the NXIVM/ESP crime syndicate, her proclivity for prevarication started long before that.
She lied when she told people that she had a Master’s Degree.
She even lied when she said she has a Bachelor’s Degree (Turns out she has an Associate’s Degree and she’s a registered nurse – which, while noteworthy accomplishments, are way below what she claimed to have achieved academically).
She claimed to be a Psychotherapist – which is not a recognized profession in New York State.
She claimed to be a certified Medicaid provider when, in fact, she never had that certification – and she fraudulently billed her clients through someone else’s Medicaid Provider Number, which is another crime all by itself.
But on Wednesday, Salzman was forced to tell the truth.
In a carefully orchestrated proceeding, Judge Garaufis went through the requisite step-by-step process that is necessary in order to make sure that Salzman could not change her mind at a later date – and try to withdraw her guilty plea.
He started out by confirming that she was there to enter a guilty plea to Count One of the first superseding indictment “without an agreement” (We’ll discuss the importance of that “without an agreement” part in a later post).
Next, he put her under oath – and asked her a series of questions to confirm:
• That she knew she could consult with her attorneys at any time during the proceeding;
• That English is her primary language (She is also, of course, totally fluent in Ranierese);
• That she has not recently been under the care of a psychiatrist;
• That although she had taken some medications within the past 24-hours, that medication was not affecting her ability to think or reason or understand what people were saying to her;
• That she had consumed one glass of wine the prior evening;
• That she has never been hospitalized or treated for any drug-related problem;
• That her mind was clear;
• That she understood everything he was saying to her;
• That she understood what legal rights she would be waiving by pleading guilty;
• That the court would appoint an attorney to represent her should she need one in the future;
• That she did not need any more time with her attorneys to discuss the question of pleading guilty;
• That she understood the crimes with which she was charged in the first superseding indictment;
• That her attorneys have answered all her questions about those charges;
• That she understood she would be pleading to one count of Racketeering Conspiracy –and two racketeering acts: i.e., conspiracy to commit identity theft –and conspiracy to alter records in an official proceeding;
• That she understood what the prosecution would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict her under Count One of the superseding indictment;
• That she had the right to persist in pleading not guilty to all the pending charges against her;
• That if she went to trial, she would be presumed innocent;
• That she understood all the rights she would have if she chose to proceed to trial;
• That she would not be able to appeal her guilty plea;
• That although the sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of 33-41 months, the judge would have total discretion in deciding what her actual sentence would be;
• That she would have the right to appeal whatever sentence is imposed on her; and
• That she had no questions regarding any aspect of her entering a guilty plea.
And, after all that, Nancy got to read her allocution into the record – which the Frank Report is able to provide word-for-word to its readers:
THE DEFENDANT: Judge Garaufis, want you to know that I am pleading guilty because I am, in fact, guilty. It has taken me some time and some soul searching to come to this place.
When I began working with NXIVM I believed that we would be helping people. I still believe that some of what we did was good. The problem began when I compromised my principles and did things which I knew or should have known
were wrong. I justified them to myself by saying that what we were doing was for the greater good.
Now, having had time to step back from the community I was immersed in for nearly 20 years, I accept that some of things I did were not just wrong but criminal.
I am deeply sorry for the trouble that I’ve brought to my daughter, the pain I’ve caused my parents and the things I’ve done that have hurt others. If I could go back and do it all over I would, but I cannot. By my plea of guilty I hope to at least begin atoning for my actions and to start the next part of my life.
Between 2005 and 2018, I agreed to join an enterprise comprised of people close to Keith Raniere and agreed to participate in its affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity. While doing so, I was aware of and participated in some of the criminal objectives of the enterprise which were jointly undertaken by its members, including me, and I agreed that a conspirator would commit at
least two acts of racketeering in furtherance of the objectives of the enterprise.
Such objectives included agreeing that others would commit improper and, at times, illegal invasions of privacy against perceived critics of NXIVM, the company of which I was president. Including computer hacking in their email accounts and other acts of improper prying for the purpose of either trying to achieve
success in court litigation against those individuals, or trying to stop them from continuing to publicly criticize the organization.
Such objectives also included agreeing during discovery proceedings in a District of New Jersey civil case to which NXIVM and I personally were parties, to have others
alter videotapes memorializing NXIVM classroom proceedings that we were required to turn over to our adversaries. We agreed together that the recordings would be edited to remove certain sections we did not want to turn over and to do so without revealing our editing plans to such adversaries in knowing violation of the Court’s rules.
I recognize that what I did was illegal and wrong and I deeply regret my participation in these acts.
So, there you have it.
In 441 words, Salzman has admitted to being involved in a Racketeering Conspiracy – and to participating in two racketeering acts.
And just like that, Salzman went from being a Prefect to being a felon.
Viva Executive Success!
One of the most noteworthy moments during Wednesday’s hearing was an exchange between Judge Garaufis and David Stern, Nancy’s lead attorney. Just think how chilling this must sound to the other defendants in this case:
THE COURT: Are you aware of any viable legal defense to the charge?
MR. STERN: I think we’ve thought this case through and discussed it amongst ourselves and I think on balance we’ve decided there is not a viable legal defense.
WOW! Sleep tight Keith, Allison, Clare, Lauren and Kathy…