Jeffrey Epstein victims’ fund awards $125 million as claims process ends

U.S.

FILE – This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. A Justice Department report has found former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta exercised “poor judgment” in handling an investigation into wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein when he was a top federal prosecutor in Florida. The report was obtained by The Associated Press and is a culmination of an investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility over Acosta’s handling of a secret plea deal with Epstein, who had been accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)

NEW YORK (Reuters) — The head of a fund providing restitution to victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuses said on Monday she has finished the claims process and awarded nearly $125 million to about 150 eligible claimants.

In a statement, the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund said 92% of eligible claimants accepted their compensation offers, and have received more than $121 million.

The fund received about 225 claims, more than double the 100 it expected. It turned away about 75 claimants, though they can still pursue claims against Epstein’s estate.

Jordana Feldman, the fund’s administrator, in a statement said, “Every claimant had an opportunity to be heard in a safe space, to share the intimate, personal, often harrowing accounts of what they endured and how it has affected them.”

Feldman announced the payouts one day before the second anniversary of Epstein’s death.

The financier killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell on Aug. 10, 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. He had signed his will two days earlier.

Some payouts were delayed by litigation between the executors of Epstein’s estate, which once held $634 million, and Attorney General Denise George of the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned two islands.

George accused the executors of depleting estate assets too quickly, and also being the “indispensable captains” of Epstein’s sex trafficking.

The executors have denied any misconduct.

George and a lawyer for the executors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The fund opened in June 2020, following negotiations between lawyers for the executors and victims as well as George.

Feldman also helped lead the compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. She was not immediately available for additional comment.

Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime associate, has pleaded not guilty to charges she groomed and trafficked underage girls for Epstein. Her trial in Manhattan could begin in November.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Howard Goller

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