A new lawsuit charges NIXVM of being a Ponzi scheme, conducting illegal experimentation on humans and exploiting female recruits.
Allison Mack may have pled guilty to charges of racketeering for her involvement in NXIVM, but her legal troubles are far from over. The former Smallville actress has been named as a defendant alongside founder Keith Raniere and other top members in a new lawsuit charging the personal development company of being a Ponzi scheme, conducting illegal experimentation on humans and exploitation of its female recruits.
It claims that Mack, Raniere and 13 other individuals “exerted power over the plaintiffs; took their money; made it financially, physically and psychologically difficult, and in some cases impossible, to leave the coercive community; and systematically abused plaintiffs physically and emotionally.”
“The recently filed civil suit shows that several of the plaintiffs who appeared as witnesses at the criminal trial were less than candid when they testified under oath they were not going to sue raniere. Clearly, these people were motivated by money, a motivation the jury should have known. This will be one of several issues we will raise in court,” Marc Agnifilo, Raniere’s lawyer, said in a statement.
ET has reached out to lawyers Mack for comment.
Founded in the 1990s, NXIVM garnered national attention in 2017 when the New York Times exposed it as a pyramid scheme and cult that forced its female recruits into sexual slavery. In the years since, Raniere was arrested and later indicted on federal charges. In July 2019, the founder was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking.
During that time, various notable people were revealed to be members or recruits -- from an heiress to the Seagram Company fortune to a daughter of a former Dynasty actress -- but none were more shocking than Mack. Soon after she was arrested in April 2018, reports alleged that the actress had been responsible for recruiting women to be slaves and branding them. A year later, Mack pleaded guilty in court and is still awaiting sentencing.
More specifically, Mack, who was considered a “master,” is accused of exploiting several women -- many of whom are unnamed in the lawsuit over fears that “their reputations will suffer or they will lose job opportunities if they were to be linked to the group,” the New York Times reports.
The suit alleges that Mack was “tasked with selecting attractive, trustworthy women who could become sexual partners for Raniere.” Several women also assert that the actress forced them to be her slaves and instructed them to have sex with the founder. And in one case, she is accused of “stating that this was a special assignment that would help her get over trauma from past abuse.”
Another unnamed woman claims that she “was required to provide collateral, which would destroy her family, business, and reputation, if released publicly,” and when Mack was asked to return it, she refused.
Similar to past accusations made by actress Catherine Oxenburg, the lawsuit says Mack put one of the female recruits “on a restricted calorie diet,” which caused her to develop medical conditions.
In another interview with the New York Times, Mack claimed that she had a part in the creation of the group's ritual, which involved women being branded. The lawsuit says that Mack was asked to make it appear that the brandings “were consensual.”
One female member, who was recruited to a group created just for women of East Asian descent called “One Asian,” recalls Mack telling her that sex was “no big deal,” and that it was “just like playing tennis.” Another group, called “TEN C,” was allegedly created by Mack specifically for “procuring young women from college sororities for Raniere.”
In order to maintain control over their members and further isolate them from outside influence, the lawsuit alleges that Raniere, Mack and her wife, Battlestar Galactica actress Nicki Clyne, created a fake news outlet called “Knife of Aristotle.”
Mack was 23 years old when she first joined NXIVM after she became unhappy with her acting career and had hopes of becoming a “great actress again.” Soon, the actress had devoted herself to the cult and became a high-ranking member within the organization. In addition to her role as master, Mack also became a face of NXIVM, appearing in promotional videos for the cult.
While pleading guilty to racketeering charges in April, 2019, the actress said, “I must take full responsibility for my conduct… I am and will be a better person as a result of this.” Mack faces up to 20 years in prison in that case.