Jeffrey Epstein Victims Fund Paid Out More Than $120 Million
(Bloomberg) -- A fund to compensate victims of Jeffrey Epstein is concluding its claims process after awarding more than $120 million, its administrator said.
The announcement Monday comes one day before the second anniversary of Epstein’s death in a New York jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The fund’s administrator, Jordana Feldman, said she wanted to approve the final awards before that date.
“I was continually struck by the resilience and courage of the victims who put their faith and trust in this process,” Feldman said in a statement.
About 92% of approximately 150 eligible claimants accepted their compensation offers, Feldman said. The number of claims submitted to the program, about 225, far exceeded original expectations of about 100, according to Feldman.
The fund opened in June 2020 after wrangling over privacy, legal liability and other issues between the estate and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned property and took many of the girls he was accused of assaulting. After his death, the executors valued the financier’s estate at more than $600 million.
The program was designed by Feldman, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros. Feinberg and Feldman oversaw the compensation fund for people killed in the September 2001 terrorist attacks. He and Biros designed and administered a fund for sexual-abuse claims against the Catholic Church.
Suicide Ends Prosecution
After getting an earlier non-prosecution deal with federal authorities in Florida, Epstein was arrested in July 2019 and charged by U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan with sexually abusing dozens of girls. The following month, on Aug. 10, he was found dead in a federal lockup in what authorities ruled a suicide.
In July 2020, federal prosecutors in New York brought sex-trafficking charges against Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend and confidante, accusing her of participating in the scheme. She has denied wrongdoing and is scheduled to go on trial in November.
Denise George, attorney general of the Virgin Islands, blocked an earlier proposal for the compensation fund by Epstein’s estate and questioned its demand that those who received money from the fund agree to a broad liability waiver. An accord was later reached after the estate agreed not to use information the victims provided to defend itself against any other claims or suits that might be filed against it.
George declined to comment on Monday’s announcement.
Feldman said in the statement that preserving the privacy of claimants and treating them with compassion and sensitivity were essential to the program’s success.
“This important, independent program allowed victims/survivors who were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein to resolve their claims outside of court through a voluntary, confidential, fair, empathetic and expeditious process -- beyond the glare of public proceedings and without the costs and confrontation of litigation,” she said.
Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, co-executors of the Epstein estate who established and funded the program, said they “are extremely pleased” it accomplished its goal of offering compensation to those who suffered sexual abuse as a result of Epstein’s actions.
“They applaud the work done by Ms. Feldman and her staff in successfully resolving those claims, and are proud to have supported approximately $125 million in compensation awards in the first-ever such compensation program implemented by an estate,” Daniel Weiner, a lawyer for the co-executors, said in a statement.
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