*Hat Tip: Kevin D.
Lawrence Ray — who once served as best man at former top city cop Bernie Kerik’s wedding — made half a million dollars pimping out one co-ed, federal prosecutors said in an indictment.
“If you’re not angry, you don’t have a soul,’’ William Sweeney, assistant director of the FBI’s New York office, said of the case at a Manhattan press conference.
Ray embarked on his diabolical scheme in 2010, when he moved into the on-campus pad where his daughter, then a sophomore at the prestigious school, lived with seven female and male roommates.
The suspect — who was convicted in 2001 in a pump-and-dump stock fraud scheme — had been released from prison in a separate child-custody-battle case just days earlier.
At first, the devilish dad presented himself as a caring “father figure,’’ according to the indictment.
He soon began lecturing the young group “on his personal philosophy and conducted his ‘therapy’ sessions … during which he learned intimate details about their private lives, vulnerabilities, and mental health struggles with the pretense of helping them,’’ the document said.
Ray, who was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, then launched what amounted to a decade-long reign of terror over
his victims — including for several years from a one-bedroom Upper East Side apartment, the feds said.
He used psychological torture and physical violence to keep his victims under his thumb and force them to do his bidding.
In one case, the sex terrorist, 60, “sexually groomed’’ a young woman, forced her to have sex with a male victim while he watched and blackmailed her into more than four years of prostitution, raking in $500,000 from the trafficking, prosecutors said.
New York Magazine, in an April expose on Ray’s crimes, said the sex criminal sometimes joined in his victims’ sex sessions in the West 93rd Street home. When he wasn’t at the high-rise apartment, Ray would direct the young pair’s sex using Skype.
When the young man supposedly stepped out of line, Ray would punish him, the magazine said. Ray once twisted a “necklace’’ of tinfoil balls around the man’s genitals, forced him to use a dildo on himself in front of friends and threatened to dismember him with a knife, New York mag said.
The white terrorist started pimping out the young woman in 2014, a year after she graduated from Sarah Lawrence, which costs upwards of $70,000 a year.
Ray once “tied this victim to a chair, put a plastic bag over her hair, and almost suffocated her’’ to keep her in line, Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman told reporters.
Ray accused the victim of poisoning him during their time together — and made her “confess’’ on video to doing so, using the footage as blackmail, officials said.
Ray confiscated another $500,000 from at least five victims with threats and bogus claims that they either damaged his property or had somehow hurt him and his relatives, the indictment said.
The terrified victims were reduced to “draining their parents’ savings in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars, opening lines of credit … [and] selling real-estate ownership’’ to appease him, according to the document.
One female student’s parents told New York magazine that they were duped out of $200,000 and had to sell their house to cover the debt.
Ray then laundered the money through unnamed associates’ accounts and even those of some of his victims, as well as by buying up Internet domain names and then reselling them at a profit, authorities said.
A law-enforcement source told The Post that authorities only learned of Ray’s scheme through the magazine article, which was titled, “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence.’’
“That’s the first time they ever heard of [it],’’ the source said.
Ray was apprehended by a joint NYPD-FBI task force at his home in Piscataway, NJ, on Tuesday morning, another source said.
“He was talkative,’’ although not complaining, the first source said, calling Ray a “svengali.”
At least one former college roommate of his daughter was at the home at the time, sources said.
Ray is set to be arraigned Wednesday in Manhattan federal court on charges including sex-trafficking, extortion and money-laundering.
He denied to New York Magazine nearly all of the accusations it detailed in its piece, although he admitted taking money that one young woman made “from escorting.’’
He was with two female former college students at the interview. Asked if he was romantically involved with either, Ray replied that he couldn’t have sex at the time — because of the poisoning.
The same month the report was published, Seagram’s booze heiress Clare Bronfman pleaded guilty to her role in the upstate cult Nxivm, headed by self-styled guru Keith Raniere, who was accused of sexually, mentally and physically abusing vulnerable followers.
Ray, an old pal of Kerik’s, fell out with him around 2004, when the former NYPD Commissioner seemingly took the side of Ray’s ex-wife during their divorce dispute, New York Magazine said.
Soon, the ex-con was leaking to the press that he paid for Kerik’s wedding and gave him other gifts, helping to trigger the ex-top cop’s eventual public downfall, the mag said. Several ensuing investigations into Kerik led to him pleading guilty to charges including tax fraud, and he did three years in prison.
Kerik told the mag in April, “Larry Ray is a psychotic con man who has victimized every friend he’s ever had. It’s been close to 20 years since I last heard from him, yet his reign of terror continues.”
Kerik did not return a request for comment from The Post.
Ray’s daughter, Talia, who graduated from Sarah Lawrence in 2013, also did not return a phone call.
Meanwhile, the magazine raised questions about Sarah Lawrence’s handling of what it knew about Ray at the time.
One co-ed’s parents said they went to a college student-life higher-up when they learned Ray was living on campus, and the school official acknowledged that there had been similar complaints about Ray — but claimed his hands were tied because it was just a case of a dad visiting his daughter, the mag said.
Berman, asked Tuesday if the college was culpable in any way in the debacle, replied, “No comment.’’
The college put out a statement Tuesday saying, “The charges contained in the indictment are serious, wide-ranging, disturbing, and upsetting,’’ according to CBS TV. “As always the safety and well-being of our students and alumni is a priority for the College.
“In April 2019, New York Magazine published a range of accusations about this former parent. At that time, the college undertook an internal investigation regarding the specific activities alleged in the article to have occurred on our campus in 2011; the investigation did not substantiate those claims.”
The school said it hasn’t been contacted by feds “but of course will cooperate in their investigation to the full extent of the law if invited to do so.’’
The school did not respond to questions from The Post.