Allison Mack, actress convicted in NXIVM case, released from prison

Former Halfmoon woman served two years in prison for racketeering crimes in NXIVM and Raniere-led "master/slave" group

Albany Times-Union/July 4, 2023

By Robert Gavin

Former television star Allison Mack, who provided “slaves” to NXIVM leader Keith Raniere for his secret group that blackmailed calorie-starved and sleep-deprived women into sex acts and subjected them to physical branding on their pelvic areas, has been released from federal prison.

The 40-year-old Mack, formerly of Halfmoon, pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy in 2019 in a deal that required she cooperate with federal prosecutors in Brooklyn. She was released from custody on Monday, according to the website of the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Two years ago, Senior U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis sentenced Mack to three years in prison, calling her “an essential accomplice” to Raniere. One female victim likened Mack’s role assisting Raniere in the secret group — Dominus Obsequious Sororium, or DOS, which translates in Latin to Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions — to that of convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell in her assistance to late sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein.

Mack is the first NXIVM defendant who received a prison sentence to complete their term. Former NXIVM president Nancy Salzman, 68, of Halfmoon, who pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and received a three-and-a-half year sentence, is scheduled to be released in July 2024. NXIVM operations director Clare Bronfman, 44, the Seagrams' heiress who lived in Manhattan and Clifton Park, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor illegal immigrants for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification and received an 81-month sentence, is expected to be released in June 2025.

Two other defendants — NXIVM education director Lauren Salzman and bookkeeper Kathy Russell, both of whom lived in Halfmoon — received probation.

 Raniere, 62, formerly of Halfmoon, known in NXIVM as “Vanguard,” was convicted at trial of sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and racketeering charges that included underlying crimes of extortion, identity theft and possession of child pornography. He is serving 120 years in a federal prison in Tucson, Ariz.

The German-born Mack, raised in southern California, gained stardom playing Chloe Sullivan on the Superman-themed show “Smallville.” Mack later gained attention in NXIVM, the cult-like personal growth organization based in Colonie that Raniere co-founded in 1998.  Mack moved to the Knox Woods town house development in Halfmoon where two-dozen top NXIVM members lived. She would eventually become one of eight “first line” slaves in DOS, which Raniere created in 2015, who answered directly to Raniere, the “grand master.”

At Raniere’s trial, former “slaves” said they were coerced into DOS by women who claimed it was a secret sorority to empower women. To join, recruits needed to provide “collateral” in the form of naked photos or humiliating information about themselves or loved ones that could be fiction.  Once in DOS, the recruits learned that they were “slaves” who had made lifelong vows of obedience to “masters.”

Raniere ordered DOS members to wear chains to symbolize “collars” to show that they belonged to masters. He directed they live on diets of 500 calories or less, and respond to “readiness” text messages at all hours of the night. And Raniere ordered that women were to be branded on their pelvic areas with a symbol later revealed to be his initials.

The branding, exposed initially by former NXIVM publicist and blogger Frank Parlato, was highlighted in a New York Times story in October 2017. The following March, authorities arrested Raniere in Mexico where he had fled with top supporters, including Mack. She was indicted alongside Raniere in a sweeping racketeering case that netted six convictions.

Mack admitted to underlying racketeering crimes of forced labor, extortion, fraud and sex trafficking. In one case, Mack ordered a woman from California to meet Raniere outside Mack’s town house where Raniere blindfolded the woman, drove her to a house and ordered her to undress and tied her to a table where she was subjected to oral sex from another DOS member.

Mack could have faced as much as 14 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but prosecutors asked the judge to show Mack leniency due to her cooperation. She provided prosecutors with information on Raniere and Bronfman.

Mack provided the prosecution with an audio recording of Raniere instructing her that during branding ceremonies, DOS slaves were to be held down, fully naked, their hands held above their heads like a ritual sacrifice as a person branded them using them a cauterizing pen.

Mack, who once beamed in adoration at Raniere on videos made by NXIVM, disavowed Raniere, her one-time mentor, lover and co-defendant, before her sentencing, describing Raniere as a “twisted man.”

In a letter to the judge prior to the sentencing, Mack told Garaufis: “It is now of paramount importance to me to say, from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I threw myself into the teachings of Keith Raniere with everything I had ... I believed, whole-heartedly, that his mentorship was leading me to a better, more enlightened version of myself. I devoted my loyalty, my resources, and, ultimately, my life to him. This was the biggest mistake and greatest regret of my life.”

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