There have been interesting developments on the Jeff Epstein front, including some indications that Alan Dershowitz is not telling the truth. We'll talk about those developments very soon. Right now, I'd like to address a fascinating question which most writers have overlooked...
How did Epstein make his billions?
We're talking about a guy who is not just wealthy but fabulously
wealthy. The most elaborate home in New York City. The largest house in New Mexico. Another home in West Palm Beach. His own damned island
He says that he manages money for billionaires, and only
for billionaires. He also says that he does what he does in complete secrecy, which means that we have no way to double-check his assertions. If you read this all-important 2003 profile by Vicky Ward
, published by Vanity Fair, you'll see that these claims are problematical.
First, the guy leaves little or no trace of his business activities. How can anyone be that
invisible, even to fellow members of the elite?
Second, the number of billionaires in this world is limited, and most members of that club seem quite able to chart their courses without using the services of Jeffrey Epstein. Given the man's rep -- and there have been disturbing whispers about the guy since his departure from Bear Stearns -- I'm not sure that there are a whole lot of affluent people would would trust this guy with their money.
Third, his company seems to employ no actual portfolio managers or analysts
Fourth, Ward's profile proves that Epstein has made claims in interviews that do not match what he says in legal depositions, or which do not match other evidence. In other words, we should take what he says with a chunk of salt so sizable as to test Morton's granulating capabilities.
There's one thing you have to understand about Epstein: He didn't start to make it big -- as in big
big -- until he left Bear Stearns and joined forces with Steven Jude Hoffenberg. And the thing you have to understand about Hoffenberg is this:
He is currently incarcerated in the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts, serving a 20-year sentence for bilking investors out of more than $450 million in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history.
Hoffenberg's business was, officially, a collection agency. Yes, you can use debt as the basis for a ponzi operation.
It's hard to avoid the suspicion that Epstein followed in the footsteps of his mentor, doing the same thing, but bigger and better. Someone who manages the money of a billionaire may have a lot of capital to play with, and could keep the ponzi-party going for an indefinite amount of time. Vicky Ward's profile gives the impression that Epstein knows a lot about getting hold of other people's money and using it to further his own interests.
I'm hardly the first to think these thoughts. In 2009, Business Insider
asked some remarkably pertinent questions.
The way Epstein is compensated is also a bit suspicious. Last year in the New York Times, Landon Thomas reported that Epstein charges a flat fee on the assets entrusted to him, anywhere from $25 million to $100 million, but doesn't collect any portion of the profits. This is oddly reminiscent of Bernie Madoff's compensation scheme.
Here's something else: how could Epstein's one-man show not fall apart while he was in jail during one of the most volatile years in history? We don't know for sure that Epstein's business has kept humming along.
This next bit is particularly telling:
On the other hand, there are no SEC filings disclosing Epstein's holdings. Not one. It's hard to see how he could be managing billions without ever tripping a disclosure trigger, unless he avoids the stock market altogether and only invests in private deals. This is another red flag.
You may also want to take a look at Vicky Ward's most recent piece on Epstein, published a couple of weeks ago in The Daily Beast. She tells us that Hoffenberg is out of jail now, and has been "pestering" Ward to write a movie. I'm not sure what to make of that development, but I'd like to learn more.
There's another side to this story.
The Epstein sex scandal figures in the tale of yet another ponzi schemer, a lawyer named Scott Rothstein
. Brad Edwards (one of the lawyers that Alan Dershowitz hopes to disbar) was a lawyer at Rothstein's firm in those days.
Basically, Rothstein's scam was selling "interests" in confidential lawsuit settlements. Until very recently, I had no idea that one could sell such a thing, but apparently one can.
Then as now, crusading lawyer Brad Edwards represented various women in the Epstein scandal. Rothstein led his investors to believe that Epstein would soon be making huge settlement payments to these women. To "sell" this story, Rothstein apparently relied on flight logs and other evidence that Brad Edwards had acquired.
As it turned out, Brad Edwards knew nothing about Scott Rothstein's activities. Nevertheless, Jeff Epstein filed three lawsuits against Edwards in 2009. Near as I can tell, these cases went nowhere. During the legal back-and-forth, the name of none other than Alan Dershowitz arose; even then, it seems, Brad Edwards was very keen to depose him.
The Rothstein story is very intriguing, but it doesn't tell us anything about the question of how Jeff Epstein made his money -- although it does
establish that ponzi schemes are rather more common than many might think.
The Israel connection.
To be frank, I do not enjoy writing about this aspect of the story, because I don't want to be classified as one of those writers who sees the dark hand of Mossad everywhere
. But there is -- how to put it? -- a disturbing recurrent motif in the saga of Jeff Epstein, who is a strong supporter of Israeli causes.
First and foremost, we must note Epstein's close relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell, alleged to have played a role in procuring young women. She is the daughter of the late publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, now universally acknowledged to have functioned as a Mossad asset. Ghislaine was his favorite child, the proverbial chip off the old block.
Second, we must note that Jeff Epstein forged extremely close links to retail magate Leslie Wexner -- chairman of The Limited, the man behind Victoria's Secret and other famous clothing stores. After his days of running with Hoffenberg, Epstein linked up with Wexner, mysteriously insinuating himself into every aspect of his business. This pro-Zionist website
tells us the following:
Les Wexner is a Zionist. He is on the board of directors of Emet, the Pro-Israel Media 'War Room' whose function is to ensure that all media in the US stays biased in favor of Israel . In 1984, Les Wexner who is one of the world's 200 wealthiest people created the Wexner Foundation. Its mission statement is 'strengthening Jewish Leadership in North America and Israel .' One of the programs the Foundation runs is the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program which annually brings up to ten Israeli have participated thus far. The Wexner Foundation sponsors 'Birthright Israel ' - a program that pays for young American Jews to take free indoctrination trips to Israel . It is also a long-standing supporter of Hillel - the bastion of Zionism on campus.
Alan Dershowitz is, of course, Israel's most prominent defender in intellectual circles. Although Dershowitz now tries to distance himself from Epstein, the two men were quite close. Dershowitz used to brag about sending the pre-publication manuscripts of all of his books to Epstein for comment. Epstein was the only non-family member so privileged.
Finally, we have the most recent statement made by Virginia Roberts
. I hope to discuss in a subsequent post her claims about Dershowitz. For now, let's concentrate on the following:
"In addition to constantly finding underage girls to satisfy their personal desires, Epstein and Maxwell also got girls for Epstein’s friends and acquaintances. Epstein specifically told me that the reason for him doing this was so that they would “owe him,” they would “be in his pocket,” and he would “have something on them.” I understood him to mean that when someone was in his pocket, they owed him favors. I also understood that Epstein thought he could get leniency if he was ever caught doing anything illegal, or more so that he could escape trouble altogether."
If this is true, then what do have? Simply this: The daughter of a known Mossad agent used underaged girls in a scheme to procur what can only be described as blackmail information on powerful people. That's not interpretation, that's not surmise, that's not reading-between-the-lines: That's what Roberts is saying
Would Maxwell go to such lengths for the sole reason of aiding Jeff Epstein (who was not her employer) in his quest for the ideal orgasm? Or was she motivated by some other
I leave the reader to ponder the possibilities.