NXIVM blogger Frank Parlato Jr. sentenced for tax crimes in Buffalo

Longtime critic of cult leader Keith Raniere's organization received punishment of five months' home confinement, restitution order and a $10,000 fine

Albany Times-Union/July 31, 2023

By Robert Gavin

Albany — Anti-NXIVM blogger Frank Parlato Jr. will not be headed to federal prison.

Instead, the 68-year-old Niagara Falls man, a one-time publicist for Keith Raniere’s cult-like organization who became one of its most outspoken opponents, will spend five months on home confinement for his August 2022 guilty plea to a single count of willful failure to file tax returns involving cash transactions of more than $10,000. Prosecutors described the long-running case as classic tax evasion related to nearly $400,000 in unreported income over several years.

Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara imposed time served, five months of home confinement and one year of supervision by federal probation officers. Parlato must immediately pay $184,939 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and a fine of $10,000.

In 2015, then-U.S. Attorney William Hochul, husband of Gov. Kathy Hochul, announced an indictment that charged Parlato with victimizing high-ranking NXIVM members Seagram’s heiresses Clare Bronfman and Sara Bronfman-Igtet. In 2018, a superseding indictment against Parlato dropped the Bronfman-related charges.

Prosecutors for now-U.S. Attorney Trini Ross asked the judge to sentence Parlato to between 18 and 24 months. Parlato sought a non-prison sentence.

In June 2017, Parlato's blog, The Frank Report, first publicly revealed Raniere's secret master/slave group known as Dominus Obsequious Sororium, or DOS, in which women were blackmailed, deprived of sleep, starved on 500-calorie diets or less, given assignments to seduce Raniere and in many cases physically branded on their pelvic areas with a symbol revealed later to be Raniere's initials.

The New York Times expanded on The Frank Report’s stories. In March 2018, Raniere was indicted. In 2019, he was convicted at trial of sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and racketeering charges. He is serving 120 years in federal prison.

Former NXIVM members Kristin Keeffe, Susan Dones and Nicki Clyne were among the scores of letter-writers who asked the judge to show leniency to Parlato, as did Stephen Herbits, a longtime confidant of Seagram’s tycoon Edgar Bronfman Sr., the late father of the Bronfman sisters.

Toni Natalie, a former girlfriend of Raniere prior to NXIVM who became one of its longtime victims, wanted the judge to impose a more stringent sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles Kruly represented the prosecution. Parlato's attorneys were Paul Cambria and Herbert Greenman.

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