JPMorgan Chase has settled a lawsuit for an undisclosed amount brought by multiple women who allege the bank helped its client, the disgraced late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, run his sex-trafficking operation and profit from it by enabling him to pay them for sex.
A woman listed anonymously as Jane Doe filed the 2022 lawsuit in New York on behalf of herself and other accusers, saying she was sexually abused by Epstein from 2006 to 2013 and trafficked to his friends. She alleged that Epstein paid her and other victims with cash withdrawn from JPMorgan. The settlement is expected to compensate multiple accusers, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Victims accused JPMorgan of lending Epstein money and allowing him to withdraw large amounts of cash from 1998 to 2013 despite knowing about his sex trafficking, according to The Associated Press.
Palm Beach police in 2006 charged Epstein with multiple counts of unlawful sex with a minor. Epstein was arrested after a grand jury indicted him on a single count of soliciting prostitution and sentenced to 18 months in jail, but the U.S. attorney’s office agreed in a secret arrangement not to prosecute him for federal crimes. Epstein served most of his time in a work-release program, leaving jail during the day to go to his office, then returning at night.
Now a convicted felon, Epstein was arrested again in 2019 on charges of sexually abusing and exploiting dozens of girls in Florida and New York. The 66-year-old died later that year in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial. A medical examiner ruled his death a suicide, but many dispute the claim.
Epstein had managed to keep crucial business connections and continue doing business despite prosecutors saying in the 2019 federal indictment that he had engaged in the sexual trafficking of girls as young as 14.
“We all now understand that Epstein’s behavior was monstrous, and we believe this settlement is in the best interest of all parties, especially the survivors, who suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of this man,” the New York-based bank said in a statement Monday. “Any association with him was a mistake and we regret it. We would never have continued to do business with him if we believed he was using our bank in any way to help commit heinous crimes.”
JP Morgan didn’t admit liability as part of the settlement, which would be one of the largest ever for a civil sex-trafficking case, lawyers said.
After managing dozens of Epstein-related accounts containing hundreds of millions of dollars, JPMorgan closed Epstein’s accounts in 2013. Epstein then turned to Deutsche Bank. Both banks worked with Epstein for years after he was publicly accused of abusing girls and pleaded guilty in 2008 in a Florida state court to soliciting prostitution from a minor.
The settlement doesn’t mean JP Morgan’s Epstein-related problems are resolved.
The largest bank in the U.S. and the world’s largest bank by market capitalization as of 2023 still faces a lawsuit by the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned a private island known as Pedophile Island and where he brought underage victims.
The government of the Virgin Islands said JP Morgan facilitated Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking and abuse by allowing him to remain a client and helping him send money to his victims.
The bank is also suing its former private-banking head, Jes Staley, whom it blames and wants to hold responsible for damages faced over its ties to Epstein.
JPMorgan turned on its former employee, switching from defending him to demanding he returns $80 million in compensation he was paid to work there for eight years.
Other banks implicated in the Epstein scandal include Deutsche Bank, which agreed in May to pay $75 million to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit from victims who accused it of facilitating his sex trafficking ring.