Their Founder Is An Even Shadier L. Ron Hubbard
The founder of NXIVM (pronounced Nexium, which makes them sound like a mid-tier medical insurance company) is Keith Raniere, a man so skeevy and irredeemable that he probably has a great future in politics. In interviews, Raniere, who gave himself the code name "Vanguard" (nerd), claims that he was always destined for greatness. According to him, he spoke full sentences by the age of one, had mastered high school math by 12, and by 13 had learned advanced college-level math and several computer languages. Or, according to court documents, he almost flunked out of all his STEM courses and barely managed to earn a degree at all. It's so hard to figure out who to believe, legal evidence or a cult leader.
After squeaking through college, Raniere discovered his true passion: child molestation. Like any creep with no shot at dating an intelligent adult, Raniere was involved in several sexual relationships with underage girls, including a 15-year-old whom he wooed by taking her to the local video game arcade. That's where his oh-so-cool code name came from, because they used to play the arcade game Vanguard together. He was also accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl, but for some reason, he didn't give himself a nickname based on what they played together.
CenturiSomehow, "Perv on teen girls!" didn't make the retail ad.