Federal prosecutors in New York released an indictment Monday morning against well-connected financier Jeffrey Epstein that alleges multiple counts of abuse against underage female victims, including sex trafficking.
The 14-page indictment alleges that, between 2002 and 2005, Epstein coordinated a sex-trafficking ring that paid dozens of under-age minors, girls as young as 14 years old, to have sex with him at his residences in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida. Epstein is alleged to have utilized employees and associates to recruit the girls for sex, some of whom, in turn, were paid to recruit other girls.
In a press statement, the U.S. Attorney’s office alleges, “In this way, Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit, often on a daily basis.”
Epstein, age 66, was apprehended on Saturday at the Teterboro Airport in New Jersey while aboard his private jet. He is charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.
Epstein’s Past Offenses
Epstein, who rose to prominence as an investment banker at Bear Stearns before starting his own hedge fund, J. Epstein & Co, pleaded guilty to two state prostitution charges in Florida in 2008. He was handed a 13-month sentence with work leave. A federal investigation, at the time, had identified 36 underage victims, some of whom were given financial restitution. Epstein registered as a sex offender.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami, which was led by Alexander Acosta at the time, has come under scrutiny for giving Epstein a lenient deal that removed federal charges and that may have effectively shielded alleged co-conspirators in the sex-trafficking ring.
Epstein is known for having socialized with a number of high-profile individuals, socialites, and celebrities, including former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.