Secret Agent Schmuck

The spooky truth behind the media's favorite 'spy'

"She is a habitual thief, and she's a criminal," Robertson says. (The Voice, however, could turn up no evidence that Natalie has ever been charged with a crime.) "She's psychologically damaged. The woman is—she's a classic kind of person who likes to pretend fear where she's really the victimizer. . . . It's ridiculous to suggest, as Toni has, that she was harassed."

Then, after denying that Natalie had been the subject of harassment, Robertson e-mailed the Voice an obsessively detailed 25-page report on her compiled by NXIVM associate Kristin Keeffe (the same woman who was supposed to be on the ship in the Caribbean with Ross), which was the result of an investigation into every aspect of her life—including her family, her husband, and the restaurant chain they operate—with 47 endnotes, including references to credit-card statements and lease invoices. Keeffe's report accuses Natalie of no fewer than 260 counts of bank fraud, racketeering, and money laundering. Somehow, Robertson expected that this report—almost frightening in its level of detail—would prove that Raniere has put his involvement with Natalie behind him.

In 2003, when Raniere levelled these same charges against Natalie at her bankruptcy hearing, Judge Robert Littlefield found the claims to be utterly unsubstantiated. He dismissed the report, saying: "This matter smacks of a jilted fellow's attempt at revenge or retaliation against his former girlfriend."

Juval Aviv on Fox, Your Turn 12-4-06
photo: Staci Schwartz
Juval Aviv on Fox, Your Turn 12-4-06

O'Hara, Ross, Aviv, and NXIVM are all still suing each other, and the cases don't seem likely to be resolved any time soon. Natalie fought Raniere over a bankruptcy proceeding for years; now, she said, she just wants it all to go away.

In the years since his adventures with NXIVM, Aviv has done very well for himself, snagging contracts with Hollinger and other Fortune 500 companies. Fox News, CNN, and other national news outlets still call and ask his counsel on the latest turn in international affairs. None of them seem to have done much to vet his credentials. Audrey Pass, a booker on Fox 5 News (which regularly interviews Aviv on the air), insists that the station has a proper procedure for researching the backgrounds of their expert guests—however, she adds, "I'm not going to discuss what those procedures are." CNN spokeswoman Edie Emery also promised that the network's background checks are thorough. "Based on the information that he provided at the time," she says, "we vetted him."

Meanwhile, people like investigative reporter Steven Emerson and former CIA official Vincent Cannistraro shake their heads in disbelief. Despite all the accusations of fraud, manipulation, plagiarism, and invasion of privacy over all these years, the gravy train just keeps rolling for Juval Aviv.

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