Arizona Mafia leader, attorney Dennis Burke used his firm, Frontier Solutions, to try to fraudulently obtain a visa for Marianna Fernandez, the government claims.
This is “evidenced by the significant omissions in the letters written by lawyers for Frontier Solutions on her behalf,” writes the government in a memorandum of law seeking to end claims of privilege between Burke and other lawyers and the Nxivm defendants.
The government’s argument that the communications that Clare Bronfman and Keith Raniere had with Dennis Burke and his partner, John Sandweg, is based on the crime-fraud exception that holds that there is no attorney-client privilege if the purpose of the communications is to commit crimes.
One of the startling omissions cited by the prosecution is that Burke’s firm failed to disclose that Marianna had been living with Raniere in Albany, NY, for about 10 years [often illegally], and was working for a Nxivm-affiliated entity, Jness, when they wrote letters falsely disclaiming any intent by Marianna to immigrate to the United States.
Here is an informative timeline that shows how Marianna was aided by Bronfman and Raniere :
Marianna Fernandez, a Mexican national, entered the United States on a B-2 “tourist” visa.
She had come in and out of the country for years and remained in the US sometimes for years after her visas expired, according to Nxivm sources.
Marianna engaged Frontier Solutions [Dennis Burke and John Sandweg] to assist her in immigration-related matters.
Frontier Solutions attorney John Sandweg [another member of the Arizona Mafia] sent an email to Bronfman regarding the requirements to “qualify [Marianna] as an E-2 employee” of Jness, a Nxivm-affiliated entity, or an unnamed investment company.
Bronfman forwarded the email to Raniere on September 5, 2015. That sceme evidently did not work out.
Marianna Fernandez was denied entry into the United States and her B-2 visa was cancelled on suspicion that she intended to immigrate to the United States.
The truth is, as the government’s investigation later revealed, Marianna had already for all practical purposes immigrated. She had been living in the Albany, NY area for nearly a decade as part of the Nxivm community and as an intimate partner of Raniere. She was part of a menage a trois with Pam Cafritz and Keith.
A letter, submitted on behalf of Marianna by Dennis Burke, as one of the attorneys with Frontier Solutions, represented that Marianna “has no intent to remain unlawfully in the United States” and that she continues to live in St. Luis Potosi, Mexico where she “enjoys a large network of family and friends, including her mother and sister who live nearby.”
This was evidently not true.
In a sworn statement to the Department of Homeland Security, Marianna indicated that she did “advertisement and graphic design” for Sagitta LLC, a company owned by her father.
This was likely a lie.
Bronfman sent an email with Marianna’s name in the subject line.
In the email, addressed to “Whomever It May Concern,” Bronfman stated that Marianna is “a Mexican citizen . . . who is asking for a B1/B2 visa to reenter the USA to care for her closest friend, Pamela Cafritz.”
It is not clear whether Marianna was living in Albany or not at the time of the letter.
Bronfman sent an email to Raniere concerning Marianna. In it, she gave Keith a number of ways to keep Marianna in the USA. One of them, the first one she proposes, refers to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. With this program, visas may be issued to foreign investors who contribute a specific amount of capital to United States companies that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees. In general, the minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million, although the minimum qualifying investment in a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.
Clare also proposed Marianna get married to a US citizen, possibly Raniere himself. In her email, she said she would look into keeping this confidential.
Keeping such a marriage confidential would have been important to Raniere since he had told several women he would marry them and sire for them an avatar baby.
Clare wrote to Keith, “Hi, So here are the options in order of best to worst:
“EB5 – money is invested (it needs to be from her) into a company that is used to [sic] this process, then we wait for the approval of the visa. This takes about 9 months (we may be able to extend her current visa in the interim)
“Pros – least scrutiny, long term solution
“Cons – $550,000 investment (we may be able to get the $50K fee down a little). Long wait time.
“Marriage: Self explanatory! Pros: It can be done immediately no investment of funds. Cons: Scrutiny, likely a fraud investigation – likely won’t prove it is fraud but it will be unpleasant, I am looking into if it is 100% confidential – if fraud is found, she could get banned
EB1C – Use Saggita [Marianna’s father’s company] as the company she would be coming to manage the company – but she would need to legitimately prove she had the skills and ability and that the company is in a place it wants to open here – it is legitimate and a good business plan.
“Pros: Fastest, none of the investment of [sic] marriage problems. Cons: There is significant history to go against it: Current visa’s, [M.F.’s family member’s] visa issues, the state of the US aspect of the company. John [Sandweg] feels there is a high risk of either denial or denial with a ban for fraud.”
Pam Cafritz died. Bronfman seems to have taken over Cafritz’s place as one of Marianna’s lovers.
About the same time, perhaps on the very day Pam died, Marianna got pregnant. Keith purportedly sired the baby. It is unclear if he promised Marianna it would be an avatar baby or not.
Bronfman and Raniere seemed to have settled on Marianna becoming qualified as an EB-5 investor.
In an email, Matt C. Burbach, an attorney with Burbach Law LLC, sent John Sandweg a “draft Notice of Gift from Keith Raniere to Marianna Fernandez” in connection with “an EB-5 project.”
Sandweg forwarded the email to Bronfman, who forwarded the email to Raniere the same day.
Raniere responded to Bronfman in an email: “I don’t have the money yet to make this gift… I won’t even be able to assess [access?] that for a while… but Pam [Cafritz] had a desire to make this gift which can be done from her estate or something like that…”
This evinces a scheme to circumvent the immigration laws and fraudulently use assets from an estate in probate to “make [a] gift” to Marianna for use in obtaining an investor’s visa, the government argues.
Marianna entered the United States on a B1/B2 visitor’s visa. She was pregnant with Raniere’s child. She was authorized to remain in the United States until October 14, 2017.
A Frontier Solutions attorney submitted a petition for entry into the United States on behalf of Marianna under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program on the basis of a $500,000 investment in the Steiner Brooklyn Navy Yard Redevelopment Project.
The supporting documents for the petition reflect that the funds for Marianna’s investment were a gift by Clare Bronfman.
Marianna gave birth to Raniere’s child, a boy, in Albany, New York.
Mariana’s visa was to expire the following day. After her counsel advised her to leave the USA, Mariana, baby Kemar, Clare Bronfman,
Clare had rented an Airbnb in Canada for the four of them to live in while they resolved the immigration issues.
When they attempted to enter Canada, immigration authorities denied them entry.
Purportedly to comply with the expiration of her visa, Marianna, along with Kemar and Raniere, flew to San Diego and entered Mexico by crossing the San Ysidro port of entry.
Raniere left Monterrey and flew back to Albany.
On the same day, The New York Times published a damning article about Nxivm and DOS.
Several weeks later, the FBI began interviewing witnesses.
Raniere, in Clifton Park, claims he spent the day in remembrance of Pam at his former partner’s home on the one year anniversary of her passing.
Raniere traveled from Albany to Atlanta and from there to Monterrey “to celebrate the birthday of his son’s mother.”
After he arrived in Monterrey, he lived in a gated community.
Clare Bronfman was with him.
After being located by Frank Report and having his address published, Raniere moved from Monterrey to Puerto Vallarta where he lived in a gated seaside villa, attended by Bronfman, Allison Mack, Nicki Clyne, Loreta Garza,
Raniere was deported from Mexico – and arrested as soon as he stepped across the border into the U.S..
Allison Mack was arrested.
A trust was created, named the “KAR 2018 Trust.” Bronfman is the sole donor of funds into the trust—approximately $500,000— and Marianna is the sole recipient.
The notation “family support” appears on each of the disbursements of funds from the trust to M.F.
Bronfman, Nancy and Lauren Salzman, Kathy Russell were arrested.
Marianna reportedly lives in Mexico with baby Kemar – using what’s left of the $500,000 Clare gave her.
The lovers are separated. Keith is in the Metropolitan Detention Center. Clare is subject to home arrest in Manhattan.
Based on the fraud Marianna and her lovers committed concerning her visa applications, she may be charged herself as part of the Nxivm case.