Now that their sentencing dates have been postponed, we have time to consider the question of whether Allison Mack will likely get a longer prison term that Lauren Salzman.
Both Allison and Lauren were scheduled to be sentenced on September 11th. But, as was reported yesterday, both of their sentencing dates have been postponed indefinitely.
Allison and Lauren both pleaded guilty to the same two charges: Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy.
The only difference was the predicate acts they admitted committing as part of their participation in the NXIVM crime syndicate.
Allison Mack’s Predicate Acts
During her allocution on April 8th, Allison admitted that:
(1) She had committed the crime of State Law Extortion by obtaining “…property, including nude photographs and other things of value, from her lower-ranked DOS slaves, having instilled in them the fear that if they did not, she or others would release their collateral, thereby, exposing a secret, whether true or false, tending to subject them to hatred, contempt, and ridicule, or to harm them materially with respect to, among other things, their reputation and personal relationships”.
(2) She had committed the crime of Forced Labor by providing or obtaining “the labor and services of Jane Does 5 and 8, by means of serious harm or threats of serious harm to those persons or other persons or by means of any scheme, plan, or pattern, intended to cause Jane Does 5 and 8 to believe that if they did not perform such labor or services, they would suffer serious harm”.
(3) She had committed the crime of Wire Fraud by receiving “…property and other things of value from lower-ranking DOS slaves by falsely representing that DOS was an organization comprised of women alone and by deliberately concealing Keith Raniere’s role in DOS, and that the scheme involved the sending of electronic messages over cell phones”.
So, the “bottom line” for Allison is that she admitted to three criminal acts:
– Obtaining additional collateral on lower-ranking slaves by threatening to release other collateral of theirs that she had already obtained;
– Obtaining uncompensated services from Jane Doe 5 and Jane Doe 8 by threatening to inflict serious harm on them if they did not provide such services; and
– Utilizing the internet to collect collateral from members of DOS by falsely concealing Keith Raniere’s role in the organization.
Lauren Salzman’s Predicate Acts
Lauren did her allocution on March 25th – and in doing so, she admitted that:
(1) She had committed the crime of Forced Labor and Document Servitude by knowingly participating “…in a scheme to confine Jane Doe 4 to a room in order for, among other reasons, to require her to perform labor and services including book reports and various writings for Keith Ranieri knowing that Jane Doe 4 was instructed that if she left the room she would be taken to Mexico without her consent”.
(2) She had committed the crime of State Law Extortion by obtaining property, including “…sexually explicit photographs and videos, credit card authorizations, and rights to assets from her lower-ranked DOS slaves including Jane Does 6 and 11. Having instilled in them the fear that if they did not, she and others would release their collateral thereby exposing secrets about themselves and loved ones whether true or false tending to subject them to hatred, contempt, or ridicule or harm them materially with respect to, among other things, their reputation and personal relationships.
(3) She had committed the crime of Forced Labor by requiring “…lower-ranking DOS slaves including Jane Does 6 and 11 to perform labor and services including tasks that would otherwise be compensable under threat of serious harm including the release of their collateral”.
So, the “bottom line” for Lauren is that she also admitted to three criminal acts:
– Confining Jane Doe 4 in a room and requiring her to provide uncompensated services to Keith Raniere;
– Obtaining additional collateral on Jane Doe 6 and Jane Doe 11 by threatening to release other collateral of theirs that she had already obtained; and
– Obtaining uncompensated services from Jane Doe 6 and Jane Doe 11 by threatening to inflict serious harm on them if they did not provide such services.
Lauren’s Role as a Cooperating Witness
The major difference between Allison and Lauren is that Lauren testified on behalf of the prosecution during Keith Raniere’s trial.
Allison, of course, was never called as a witness by the prosecution (We’ll have more on that topic in a later post).
Lauren did an outstanding job in answering questions from Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Hajjar – and, in doing so, helped the jury to understand just how cruel and depraved Raniere is.
She also withstood a withering cross-examination by Raniere’s lead attorney, Marc Agnifilo – much of which involved Agnifilo asking her questions directly from Post-It Notes that been written by Raniere.
Many courtroom observers believe that Lauren’s testimony – and her near-breakdown during cross-examination – was the turning point in the trial.
Much of Lauren’s testimony was extremely humiliating: e.g., how she waited for more than 20 years to have a baby with Keith; how she participated in nude group photographs with the other DOS slaves even though Raniere was no longer having any sexual contact with her; how she was held by police at gunpoint on the floor of a Mexican villa while Raniere hid in a nearby closet; etc.
But she never wavered…she never hesitated or held anything back…she just answered every question she was asked.
Others’ Testimony During the Trial
During the course of the trial, several witnesses recounted interactions they had with Allison and Lauren.
In general, Allison came off almost as cruel and villainous as Raniere himself. She seemingly loved being in charge of DOS – and delighted in running “readiness drills” and in meting out punishments to anyone who failed to meet her demands and standards.
Lauren, on the other hand, was generally described as a much more tolerant “Master” who did not inflict harsh punishments to those in her slave pod. She also came off much more as another of Raniere’s victims rather than as a perpetrator.
Although Allison and Lauren will probably end up with the same sentencing range per the applicable guidelines – i.e., 48-60 months – it would not surprise me to see them get substantially different prison terms.
Allison may well get a sentence that is at the high-end of that range: 60 months. She certainly deserves at least that much.
And Lauren may well get a sentence that is slightly below that range: 36 months.
Either way, they’re both headed to federal prison.
Allison may end up in Victorville Federal Prison Camp in Adelanto, CA.
Lauren, on the other hand, will likely end up in the women’s federal prison in Danbury, CT.