Jeffrey Edward Epstein was born January 20, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York. After attending Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, Epstein dropped out of Manhattan’s Cooper Union in 1971. He then enrolled in New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences but left without a degree.
Despite his lack of formal education, Epstein taught calculus and physics at Dalton, an elite Manhattan private school, between 1973 and 1975.
While he was a teacher, Epstein reportedly tutored Bear Stearns chairman Ace Greenberg’s son and “ was friendly” with his daughter, and left the school in 1976 to work at Bear Stearns.
Their are conflicting reports about Epstein’s time at Bear Sterns. James “Jimmy” Cayne, then the cigar-chomping CEO of Bear Stearns, talked up Epstein’s allegedly supposed great brain and his value to the bank. However, Epstein’s deposition in a subsequent civil case explained in his own testimony that he had indeed been guilty of a “Reg D violation” while at Bear Stearns and that he’d been asked to leave the investment firm in 1981. He set up J. Epstein and Co. in 1982. His firm only accepted clients with $1 billion or more of assets and has been shrouded in secrecy since its founding. Les Wexner, the founder of the clothing brand The Limited and a high-flyer in the fashion industry, has been the only identified client of the firm.
“My belief is that Jeff maintains some sort of money-management firm, though you won’t get a straight answer from him,” one well-known investor told New York Magazine of Epstein in 2002. “He once told me he had 300 people working for him, and I’ve also heard that he manages Rockefeller money. But one never knows. It’s like looking at the Wizard of Oz — there may be less there than meets the eye.”
Regardless of his actual net worth, Epstein has amassed luxury properties across the world, including:
- A $20 million, 8,500 sq ft. mansion in Palm Beach, Florida
- A 26,700-square-foot hilltop mansion in New Mexico, that was once said to be the largest home in the state:
- A luxury apartment in Paris:
- A seven story, 21,000-square-foot mansion in New York:
- The entire 70 acre island of Little St. James in the US Virgin Islands.
He also owns several private jets and over 40 cars. Below is a partial list of vehicles:
Multiple profiles and reports from over the years detailed Epstein’s active philanthropy and social life that kept him among the ranks of New York’s elite.
Epstein is actively involved in the Santa Fe Institute, the Theoretical Biology Initiative at the Institute for Advanced Study, the Quantum Gravity Program and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a former member of the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the New York Academy of Science and a former Rockefeller University Board Member.
Notably, he made headlines for a 2003 donation of $30 million to Harvard University to establish a mathematical biology and evolutionary dynamics program.
The donation showed off some of Epstein’s most elite connections, as he was publicly lauded as “brilliant” by then-Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, who would later help represent him when Epstein was accused of sex crimes in 2007.
The donation joined the ranks of what some saw as Epstein’s carefully calculated efforts to curate an image of himself as an elite figure.
“He is this mysterious, Gatsbyesque figure,” someone familiar with Epstein told NYMag in 2002. “He likes people to think that he is very rich, and he cultivates this air of aloofness. The whole thing is weird.”
He used his money to connect with both wealthy businessmen, actors, socialites, and members of the political elite. Perhaps most notably, Epstein’s private plane took President Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey, and comedian Chris Tucker to Africa to tour HIV/AIDS project sites, New York Magazine said in 2002, citing Page Six.
This was one instance of Epstein getting friendly with Clinton, as the former president would take several flights on Epstein’s private plane in 2002 and 2003, according to logs obtained by Gawker in 2015.
Epstein is a self-described “collector” of famous and powerful friends. His public association with Clinton seemed to be by design, as Epstein said in 2002 that his elite social circle was a “collection” that he invested in. “I invest in people, be it politics or science,” Epstein said. “It’s what I do.”
His political connections and social circle also included now President Donald Trump. Donald Trump described Epstein in 2002 to New York Magazine as someone who “enjoys his social life” and likes women “on the younger side.”
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years,” Trump told the magazine at the time. “Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
He is also a long time friend of Britain’s, Prince Andrew.
In 2007, Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff told the magazine that when he had flown on Epstein’s private plane in the 1990s, Epstein “was followed onto the plane by — how shall I say this? — by three teenage girls not his daughters” who were “18, 19, 20” and “model-like.”
“He has never been secretive about the girls,” Wolff said. “At one point, when his troubles began, he was talking to me and said, ‘What can I say, I like young girls.’ I said, ‘Maybe you should say, ‘I like young women.’”
This fixation would lead to his downfall. Epstein was arrested in 2005, after the stepmother of a 14-year-old girl told Florida police he had paid $200 for an erotic massage with her daughter, and later became the subject of an FBI investigation.
By the following year prosecutors said they had identified 40 young women who may have been illegally procured by Epstein. Dozens of his alleged victims are reported to have settled with Epstein out of court.
This case produced a very strange deposition video published, relating to this case, where an attorney asks Jeffrey Epstein whether it is true that he has “what has been described as an egg shaped penis?”
In 2007, he cut a secret deal with then-US Attorney Acosta that granted Epstein immunity from federal prosecution, and Epstein pleaded guilty only to solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution.
Epstein only ended up serving a 13-month jail sentence, during which he was reportedly allowed to leave jail six days a week to work out of his Palm Beach office. He is now a registered sex offender.
Jeffrey Epstein has recently been in the news again. Epstein stepped off his private jet moments after touching down at Teterboro Airport and was placed in handcuffs, arrested on federal sex trafficking charges after years of accusations, according to multiple reports.
In a criminal indictment unsealed Monday, federal prosecutors claimed that Epstein lured underage girls, some as young as 14, to his luxurious homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach under the guise of paying them cash for massages. He then molested them and encouraged them to recruit other young girls to return with them. The victims who returned with new victims were paid a finder’s fee.
“This conduct, as alleged, went on for years and involved dozens of young girls, some as young as 14,” United States attorney Mr. Berman said. “The alleged behavior shocks the conscience.”
Epstein is charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, and faces a combined maximum sentence of up to 45 years in prison if convicted.