Nancy Salzman, the president and co-founder of NXIVM – an alleged sex cult based in Albany, New York that claimed to be a self-help group – pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of racketeering conspiracy, USA Today reports.
The 64-year old, who was known by NXIVM members as “Prefect,” admitted to hacking into email accounts and altering a videotape used in a lawsuit against an NXIVM detractor.
“It has taken me some time and some soul-searching to come to this place,” she said during her hearing in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, on Wednesday, via Albany’s Times Union. “… I still believe some of what we did was good.”
She could face up to a maximum of 20 years in prison, though as USA Today notes, sentencing guidelines follow a sentence of about 3 to 4 years. She is due for sentencing on July 10th.
Salzman’s daughter, Lauren, is currently under indictment and is awaiting trial, along with Seagram’s liquor heiress Clare Bronfman and Kathy Russell, who are each charged with racketeering conspiracy and pleaded not guilty. Former Smallville actress Allison Mack is accused of recruiting women into the group’s side sect, DOS, and is facing sex trafficking charges. Mack has pleaded not guilty.
Nancy Salzman founded NXIVM with Keith Raniere in the 1990s. The secretive alleged sex cult came under heightened scrutiny following a 2017 New York Times report where several women made accusations of blackmail and being coerced into sex with Raniere and claimed they were branded as part of participating in DOS.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors announced new child pornography charges against Raniere, per Associated Press. Rainiere, who was arrested in Mexico in March 2017, is awaiting trial in Brooklyn after pleading not guilty to the initial charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, attempted sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to commit identity theft.