Sex cult defendant Allison Mack becomes Dublin's latest celebrity prisoner

After Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, the “Smallville” star becomes the East Bay prison’s latest high-profile inmate after pleading guilty for her role in the cult-like group Nxivm

The Mercury News/September 15, 2021

By Martha Ross

Allison Mack, the TV actor convicted of coercing women into becoming sex slaves in the cult-like group NXIVM, surrendered herself early to the Dublin Federal Correctional Institute Monday.

As inmate no. 90838-053, the “Smallville” star becomes the East Bay prison’s latest high-profile inmate, following TV stars Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman who both served time there for their separate roles in the college admissions scandal. Mack is expected to serve three years in federal custody for her involvement in the NXIVM case.

Mack, who gained fame playing a young Superman’s close friend, Chloe Sullivan, in the superhero-inspired WB series, was sentenced in June. The actor, 39, was first arrested in 2018 and pleaded guilty in 2019 to allegations that she used her celebrity to manipulate women into joining a secret society of brainwashed women. The cult was created by multi-level marketer Keith Raniere.

NXIVM masqueraded as an Albany, New York-based self-help organization, with women being coerced into giving up compromising information about themselves and becoming Raniere’s sex slaves who were branded with his initials, NPR and other outlets reported.

Mack struck a plea deal with prosecutors, who agreed to ask for a more lenient sentence than the 14 to 17.5 years outlined by federal guidelines, CNN reported. Prosecutors said she had provided “substantial cooperation” for their case, notably by providing the government with a recording of the ceremony in which women were branded.

At Mack’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis called Mack “an essential accomplice” and a “willing and proactive ally” of Raniere, but also said, “I don’t doubt that you were manipulated and also felt captive.”

At her sentencing, Mack renounced Raniere, the Associated Press reported. She told the court, “I made choices I will forever regret.” She also said she was was filled with “remorse and guilt.”

Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges one month before the start of Raniere’s 2019 trial. During Raniere’s trial, a woman identified only as Nicole testified that she was an aspiring actor when Mack convinced her to join NXIVM as a “slave” under the guise of mentorship, NPR reported. Nicole said Mack promised that the group could help “fix” her, but instead orchestrated her abusive sexual encounters with Raniere.

Another woman, known as Jay, testified that Mack told her that she needed to have sex with Raniere as a way of healing her trauma from previous sexual abuse, NPR also reported.

In June 2019, a jury found Raniere guilty on five charges, including sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography, identity theft, forced labor conspiracy and racketeering conspiracy. He was sentenced to 120 years in prison.

Mack was supposed to surrender to federal prison Sept. 29, but TMZ reported that she arrived at the Dublin facility on Monday. CNN reported that Mack has been under house arrest at her parents’ home since her arrest in 2018.

Her attorneys told the court that she spent the past three years getting an associate degree at a community college and took courses at UC Berkeley for a bachelor’s degree. In September 2020, Vice interviewed two UC Berkeley students who expressed concerns about being in classes with Mack, which at the time were held via Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Vice, Mack was enrolled in a class on gender studies and classes called “Black Feminist Healing Arts” and “The History and Practice of Human Rights.” Two students told Vice they were concerned that they had shared personal information during class sessions before they realized her involvement in the NXIVM case. UC Berkeley declined to confirm to Vice that Mack was enrolled at the campus, citing federal law and UC student privacy policies.

Before Mack’s arrival in Dublin, the low-security facility has also housed former “Full House” star Loughlin, who served two months there in late 2020, and “Desperate Housewives” star Huffman, who ended up serving 10 days of a 14-day sentenced there in 2019.

Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty in May 2020 to paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, fraudulently admitted to the University of Southern California on the pretense of being crew team recruits.

Huffman pleaded guilty in 2019 to paying $15,000 to have her oldest daughter’s SAT score fraudulently boosted so that the teen could have a better chance at gaining admission to her desired college.

Going back several decades, other high-profile figures incarcerated at the Dublin facility have included publishing heiress Patty Hearst; Sara Jane Moore, who attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975; “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss; and “Junk Bond King” Michael Milken.


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