Monday, August 12, 2019
Conspiracies are swirling about the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein before he could stand trial on several charges including conspiracy and sex trafficking. But while the investigation into that mystery continues, the next drama that could capture the public's attention is that of his massive estate.
Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents three female plaintiffs, called on his estate’s administrators to freeze all of his assets. Those assets include a 40 room mansion on New York's Upper East Side, a ranch in New Mexico, the island of Little St. James in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and homes in Paris and Palm Beach. Though he was referred to as a billionaire, recent court documents show that he was worth approximately $559 million, but this number could very well change in the coming months. During the initial federal case against Epstein in 2008, a full asset search was conducted which revealed that much of Epstein’s assets were split among multiple corporations, entities, trusts and offshore accounts. Epstein, 66, was not married and did not have any children documented, and it is uncertain if he a will. His known relatives include his brother, Mark, and a niece and nephew.
Sharon Cohen Levin, a former federal prosecutor who headed the Southern District of New York’s money laundering and asset forfeiture unit, said that certain assets may be seized through a civil forfeiture proceeding if they determine that the property was used to facilitate a crime or was the proceeds of criminal activity. Bloom said that she is well-versed in wealthy individuals attempting to hide their true value in the face of civil litigation. Adam Horowitz, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who settled eight civil lawsuits against Epstein on behalf of victims a decade ago, said that, "Wealthy people with the means to hire financial planners tend to insulate themselves from lawsuits."
See Chris Dolmetsch, The Next Epstein Drama: Fighting Over His Mysterious Estate, Bloomberg, August 11, 2019; see also Andrew Boryga, Jeffrey Epstein is Dead, But it Could Take Years to Unravel his Vast Estate, Sun Sentinel, August 10, 2019.
Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) and Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.