Jeffrey Epstein amassed a personal fortune, some impressive friends, and more than a few lawsuits before he died. We wonder whether he filed his last will and testament in the Virgin Islands to spite the latter.
That’s because there are only two judges in the unincorporated and organized U.S. territory, and they are tasked with traffic offences and small claims as well as probate.
We think it stands to reason the traffic offences and small claims shouldn’t wait in the queue behind Jeffrey Epstein. Therefore, settling claims against him could take a very, very long time.
However, his heirs have a head start over people awarded damages because he abused them. That’s because Jeffrey Epstein put his fortune in a trust, and his heirs can claim cash advances before the Virgin Islands probate court completes its task
Moreover, the Victims Could Wait for Thirty Years and More for Their Slice
That seems patently unfair to those victims who had such an uphill struggle to prove their cases. However, the U.S. government may have a workaround if it chooses to explore it.
The victims could receive significant settlements if the U.S. authorities pursue a civil asset forfeiture claim, according to Chris Spargo writing for Daily Mail. You see, a U.S. court has already successfully prosecuted Jeffrey Epstein for a scheme he operated while at Towers Financial.
Therefore, it could be case closed in favour of the victims, if it can be proven the $460 million worth of bogus notes and bonds sold by Towers Financial during Epstein’s tenure, were the base on which he built his subsequent fortune.
How Would Civil Asset Forfeiture Work in This Instance?
Civil asset forfeiture allows a government to seize a person’s assets, if they obtained those assets through illegal means. Moreover, it’s a generally accepted norm the seized cash and other assets seized, are first used to compensate victims of the crime provided they have filed claims.
The system worked well in 1995, when the government seized $180 million from the Swiss bank accounts of Colombian drug lord Julio Cesar Nasser David and his wife. More recently, the widow of Bernie Madoff investor Jeffrey Picower had to surrender $2.2 billion even though she was not involved in the crime.
What We Know about Jeffrey Epstein’s Apparently Ill-Gotten Gains
Jeffrey Epstein’s fortune dates from 1987, according to Chris Spargo writing for Daily Mail. Steven Hoffenberg, former chair of Towers Financial was already involved in ‘questionable acts’ when the two met after Epstein left his previous employer ‘under a cloud’.
Whatever the merits of the case, it appears the U.S. government may have a good argument for asset seizure. However, if it decides not to go ahead, then those two unfortunate judges in the U.S. Virgin Islands have a busy thirty years ahead of them.
They may find small claims and traffic offences a pleasant relief from probate, probate, and more probate distributing Jeffrey Epstein’s apparently ill-gotten gains.