In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s death, many were left with questions about his shady past and how he managed to get away with his alleged crimes for so long. But what exactly did Epstein do? Though he died before standing trial for many of his alleged crimes, he was convicted on previous charges. Get the details below.
Who was Jeffrey Epstein?
Epstein was raised in Brooklyn, according to a Vanity Fair profile. He later became a financier who once worked at the investment bank Bear Stearns. In 1982, he launched his company — J. Epstein & Co. — which managed the wealth of $1 billion or more for people and families.
He also worked with Steven Hoffenburg, a former Wall Street executive, when Hoffenburg was a chief executive officer at Towers Financial. “I was greatly impressed with his demeanor, his ability to understand complex securities underwritings and sales to investors,” he said of the late Epstein on the “Devil in the Darkness” podcast. Hoffenburg claimed Epstein was involved in criminal activity including “money laundering, spying and arms deals in different countries overseas” to make money before the Towers Financial collapse — when the Ponzi scheme finally collapsed in 1993 and Hoffenurg was given 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and was ordered to pay $463 million in restitution while Epstein got away without charges.
Epstein also owned a lot of property — a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, a residence on 71st Street in Manhattan and a ranch in New Mexico, just to name a few. It was at these locations that Epstein allegedly committed some of his most heinous crimes.
What did Jeffrey Epstein do?
There are allegations that Epstein sexually abused underage girls for money at his Palm Beach residence. Several of Epstein’s accusers said he sexually assaulted them at his New York mansion as well, according to the Huffington Post. In a July 2019 interview with NBC’s “Today” show, one woman named Jennifer Araoz said she was approached at age 14 in 2001 and brought to Epstein’s townhouse in the city, where she claimed he would abuse her and pay her money over the next year.
Finally, in May 2006, Epstein was charged with multiple counts of unlawful sex acts with a minor. In June 2008, he appeared in court to plead guilty on two lesser counts and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, the Huffington Post noted. He was required to register as a sex offender as well. He was eventually released from jail after serving just 13 months of his sentence.
What else was Jeffrey Epstein accused of?
In July 2019, Epstein was arrested and indicted for sex trafficking of underage girls. According to the indictment, he was accused of sexually exploiting and abusing “dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York and Palm Beach, Florida, among other locations.”
Epstein pleaded not guilty and potentially faced up to 45 years in prison if he was convicted of the new charges. However, on August 10, 2019, the disgraced financier was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell of an apparent suicide, according to the New York Times.
Although Epstein’s death ended his prosecution for the July 2019 indictment, New York authorities continued to investigate Epstein’s case, and several women are still filing lawsuits against his estate, Vox reported in September 2019. “We would have preferred [Jeffrey Epstein] lived to face justice,” attorney Lisa Bloom said following his mysterious death. “Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started.” It remains to be seen what else Epstein may be convicted or accused of posthumously.
Was Jeffrey Epstein’s death really a suicide?
Epstein’s death was officially ruled a suicide, but many believe he didn’t die by his own hand. One of his accusers, Michelle Licata, explained in the April 2020 REELZ documentary, Jeffrey Epstein: A Monster’s Victims Tell All, that she believes someone else was responsible for his death. “I think he had too much to live for,” she said. “He had money. He had connections.”
Epstein’s brother, Max Epstein, also believed the financier was murdered. “[Mark] was so suspicious that he hired Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City chief medical examiner, to observe the autopsy,” Dylan Howard, who authored Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales, said in the documentary. “He then had another top forensic pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht, to review the results as well. … Both came to the conclusion that all signs pointed to strangulation and not suicide.”
The Reelz documentary explains Epstein was connected to many powerful people, including politicians, royals and celebrities, many of whom were allegedly implicated in his crimes. “So you have you think about it, anyone who’d ever been inside one of his homes … They all had to know that they had been caught in some sort of recording system,” Howard says. “It begs the question — Did someone say something or do something that was so significant that they had Epstein silenced in order to save face.”
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
Ghislaine Maxwell was Epstein’s ex and alleged accomplice in many of the accusations against him. In July 2020, she was arrested by the FBI on charges related to the crimes victims claimed he committed. Her charges included conspiracy, enticing a minor to travel to engaged in illegal sex acts, transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and perjury.
“Maxwell was arrested early this morning in New Hampshire and is en route to New York where she will be appearing in Manhattan federal court later this afternoon,” spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, Nicholas Biase said. “There will be a press conference at noon at the SDNY office.”
Many expect Maxwell to have information about Epstein’s crimes and hope she will cooperate with the federal investigation in order to bring justice for his victims. “She knew what he was doing, even though she’s denied it,” Epstein reporter Melissa Cronin said during a November 2019 episode of “Epstein: Devil in the Darkness.” She continued, “There’s a lot of evidence to suggest she was as guilty as he was.”
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