More than three months after actress Allison Mack was charged with trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy in connection to her involvement in a purported women’s empowerment group, the Smallville star now faces more legal trouble.
The Albany Times-Union reports the federal criminal case against Mack and Nxivm co-founder Keith Raniere was expanded in an indictment unsealed on Tuesday to include group president Nancy Salzman and her daughter Lauren; operations director Clare Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram's liquor empire; and bookkeeper Kathy Russell.
The superseding indictment added racketeering conspiracy to the charges against Mack, who's been characterized as one of Raniere's top aides in Nxivm (pronounced “Nex-e-um”), which prosecutors allege was a sex cult that exploited its members rather than a self-help group it was purported to be. The defendants' racketeering conspiracy is alleged to envelope “an array of crimes, including identity theft, extortion, forced labor, sex trafficking, money laundering, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.”
The Justice Department has described the Albany, New York-based Nxivm as a pyramid scheme that charges participants thousands of dollars for “inspirational executive coaching” courses, and encourages them to pay for additional courses and recruit more members in order to rise through the ranks of the organization. In 2015, Raniere allegedly started his own secret society within the group, supposedly devoted to female empowerment, in which he coerced women into a master-slave relationship. Raniere, who was arrested March 25 in Mexico on multiple charges of sex trafficking and forced labor, was allegedly known as “The Vanguard,” and had the women branded with a design that incorporated his and Mack’s initials.
Court documents filed in April allege that women recruited into the group, referred to as “DOS” — an acronym for a Latin phrase that loosely translates to “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions” — or “The Vow,” were coerced into providing “collateral,” compromising material such as nude photos or damaging personal information about themselves, family or friends, that would then be released if they ever told anyone about it. The superseding indictment unsealed on Tuesday allege the defendants helped to recruit and groom sexual partners for Raniere, and used "harassment, coercion and abusive litigation to intimidate and attack" his critics.
Outside of its Albany base, Nxivm had an active community in Vancouver, British Columbia, where numerous television shows are filmed. Battlestar Galactica actresses Grace Park and Nicki Clyne, and Smallville star Kristin Kreuk were member of the organization at one point. However, Park and Kreuk have since cut ties, with the latter leaving the group in 2012.
Kreuk, who played Lana Lang on Smallville, released a statement in March, following Raniere's arrest, clarifying her own involvement in Nxivm, and denying that she was ever part of his "inner circle" or helped to recruit women as "sex slaves."
Raniere remains in custody. Mack was released on bond under the condition that she remains at her parents' home in California, and wears an ankle monitor.