The cult, operating as "self-help" business NXIVM, was flagged as "expensive brainwashing" as far back as 2003. But the organization is much more than that, with connections to both Hollywood and political elite.
This is a Reality Check you won't get anywhere else.
Allison Mack, known for her role as "Chloe" in the TV series Smallville, was arrested on April 20 as part of an indictment charging her and a man named Keith Raniere for sex trafficking and forced labor.
Mack allegedly recruited women to join a female empowerment group, one of many programs under Raniere's multi-level marketing business, NXIVM.