Epstein’s victim fund ends after paying over $ 120 million in claims

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A Jeffrey Epstein victims’ compensation fund is ending its claims process after awarding more than $ 120 million, its administrator said.

Monday’s announcement comes a day before the second anniversary of Epstein’s death in a New York prison awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking. Fund administrator Jordana Feldman has said she wants to approve the final awards before then.

“I have been continually struck by the resilience and courage of the victims who have put their faith and confidence in this process,” Feldman said in a statement.

About 92% of the roughly 150 eligible claimants accepted their offers of compensation, Feldman said. The number of claims submitted to the program, around 225, far exceeded initial expectations of around 100, according to Feldman.

The fund opened in June 2020 after feuds over privacy, legal liability and other issues between the estate and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned property and took many girls he was accused of. to have assaulted. After his death, executors valued the financier’s estate at over $ 600 million.

The program was designed by Feldman, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros. Feinberg and Feldman oversaw the compensation fund for those killed in the September 2001 terrorist attacks. He and Biros designed and administered a fund for sexual abuse complaints against the Catholic Church.

Suicide ends prosecution

After securing a previous non-prosecution agreement with federal officials in Florida, Epstein was arrested in July 2019 and charged by US prosecutors in Manhattan with sexually abusing dozens of girls. The following month, on August 10, he was found dead in a federal dungeon in which authorities ruled a suicide.

In July 2020, federal prosecutors in New York City laid sex trafficking charges against Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend and confidante, accusing her of participating in the scheme. She has denied committing wrongdoing and is due to stand trial in November.

Denise George, attorney general for the Virgin Islands, blocked an earlier proposal for a compensation fund from Epstein’s estate and questioned his requirement that those who received money from the fund agree to a broad disclaimer. An agreement was then made after the estate agreed not to use the information provided by the victims to defend themselves against any other claims or lawsuits that might be filed against them.

George declined to comment on Monday’s announcement.

Feldman said in the statement that preserving the privacy of applicants and treating them with compassion and sensitivity was essential to the success of the program.

“This important and independent program has enabled victims / survivors who have been sexually assaulted by Jeffrey Epstein to resolve their claims out of court through a voluntary, confidential, fair, empathetic and expeditious process – beyond l ‘radiance 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 created and funded the program, said they were “extremely happy” that he had achieved his goal of offering compensation to those who suffered. sexual abuse as a result of Epstein’s actions.

“They applaud the work Ms. Feldman and her staff have done to successfully resolve these claims, and are proud to have supported approximately $ 125 million in compensation in the very first compensation program implemented by an estate,” Daniel Weiner, counsel for the co-executors, said in a statement.

Top photo: A protest group holds up Jeffrey Epstein signs outside the New York Federal Courthouse on July 8, 2019. Getty Images.

Copyright 2021 Bloomberg.

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