NXIVM's Nancy Salzman reports to federal prison

Keith Raniere's second-in-command, organization's ex-president, will serve time in West Virginia facility that once housed Martha Stewart

Albany Times-Union/February 22, 2022

By Robert Gavin

Former NXIVM president Nancy Salzman has begun her three-and-a-half year prison sentence. Salzman is expected to serve her time at Alderson, a West Virginia federal facility that once housed Martha Stewart and is nicknamed “Camp Cupcake.”

Salzman was expected to report to prison on Monday, a national holiday. On Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons listed Salzman as a prisoner at another federal correctional facility in Hazelton, W.Va.

Salzman, 67, of Halfmoon, who spent two decades as NXIVM leader Keith Raniere's second-in-command in the cult-like personal growth organization based in Colonie, is expected serve her sentence at Alderson federal prison camp, which holds 645 inmates and has been described as a more cushy environment than other federal lock-ups that hold more violent inmates.

Alderson, located in Greenbrier County in southern West Virginia, is a more than 10-hour drive from Salzman's home in southern Saratoga County. Alderson, the oldest federal prison facility for women in America dating to 1928, is where Martha Stewart served her five-month prison stint in connection with a well-timed stock sale scandal.

Other high-profile inmates over the years have included legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday, who served time at Alderson between 1947 and 1948 for narcotics possession; Iva Toguri D'Aquino, the World War II broadcaster dubbed "Tokyo Rose" who served time there for treason (she was later pardoned), and  Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a member of the notorious Manson family cult led by mass murderer Charles Manson. Fromme was convicted of trying to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975.

A former inmate at Alderson, reached by the Times Union through Wall Street Prison Consultants, a group that helps defendants transition into incarceration and take advantage of programs to get out early, said while the camp is “easy time” compared to higher security facilities, there are no pools or tennis courts or horseback riding in federal prison camps as there once may have been decades ago.

“The only reason it’s Camp Cupcake is you’re not behind the walls,” said the inmate, who identified herself as Mary. She said she served eight months at Alderson for a white collar crime and worked as a clerk at the gym, handing out yoga mats.  “It’s kind of like being in a college campus setting.”

Inmates are in a dorminatory with some 128 cubes that each contain two prisoners apiece, she said.

Asked what a new inmate could expect, the former inmate said: "Nobody's going to beat you up....the camp situation is, if you get into a fight they're going to send you to an FCI (federal correctional institute). The camp is the easiest time you can do....once you get to a camp, you're not going to do anything to blow that."

Larry Levine, the founder of Wall Street Prison Consultants, said inmates receive time off for good behavior and under the federal First Step Act, the latter of which can shave up to 15 days a month.

In March 2018, Salzman pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy to resolve her charges in the sprawling case that also included Raniere and four co-defendants, including Salzman’s daughter, Lauren.

Nancy Salzman, known in NXIVM as "Prefect," who has publicly rejected Raniere since pleading guilty, was initially scheduled to report to prison on Jan. 19. Her attorney, Robert Soloway, asked for a delay after a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. Salzman also wanted to join her elderly mother at a medical appointment on the day she was expected to report to prison.

Senior U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who presided over the NXIVM case, approved the delay.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons did not immediately return a call seeking comment from the Times Union. As of 2:30 p.m., Salzman had not yet arrived, according to a person answering the phone at Alderson.

Salzman and Raniere co-founded NXIVM’s Executive Success Programs (ESP), based on New Karner Road in Colonie, in 1998. The company grew to have locations in Los Angeles, Canada and various places in Mexico, among other spots.

In sentencing Salzman in September, Garaufis listened as victims of NXIVM ripped her for her blind allegiance to Raniere. In her plea, Salzman admitted she doctored tapes to be used as evidence in a civil lawsuit in New Jersey against cult expert Rick Ross and others.

She also admitted to conspiring to commit identity theft by trying to obtain names and passwords of email accounts of perceived NXIVM "enemies." Their names were in files kept in the basement of Salzman’s upscale Oregon Trail home in Halfmoon.

“In 20 years at Raniere’s side, you left trauma and destruction in your wake,” Garaufis told Salzman.

Salzman told the judge: "I convinced myself that the ends justified the means."

Salzman is the final defendant in the case to report to prison. Raniere is serving 120 years in a federal prison in Tucson, Arizona, for sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy and racketeering charged with underlying acts of identity theft, extortion, possessing child pornography and child exploitation.

Seagram fortune heiress Clare Bronfman, NXIVM's longtime operations director and who helped bankroll Raniere's efforts, is serving six years and nine months for conspiring to harbor or conceal undocumented immigrants for financial gain, and fraudulent use of identification. Allison Mack, a former actress on the Superman-themed show "Smallville," who became a a high-ranking member of NXIVM and Dominus Obsequious Sororium (DOS), Raniere's secret "master/slave" club, is serving three years in prison for racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. Mack cooperated with prosecutors.

Lauren Salzman, a high-ranking member of NXIVM and DOS who pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy,  became the government's star witness against Raniere at trial. She and NXIVM bookeeper Kathy Russell, who pleaded guilty to visa fraud, received sentences of probation.

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