From New York Magazine:
JULY 9, 2019
How Jeffrey Epstein Made His Money: Four Wild Theories
By Matt Stieb
A Ponzi scheme has been floated as a possible source of Epstein’s wealth since as early as 2009, when Business Insider noted that multiple red flags pointed to a possible Madoff-like fraud. The secrecy of his client list; the “administrative” nature of all 150 of his employees in 2002; the absolute control over investors’ money, and the $1 billion basement investment required — all signs could point to Ponzi, although there’s no concrete evidence. In the story, finance writer John Carney raised a vital question, considering Epstein’s (limited) time in jail during the 2008 financial crisis: “How could Epstein’s one-man show not fall apart while he was in jail during one of the most volatile years in history?”
In addition, one of his early employers in finance, Steve Hoffenberg, was convicted of running one of the largest pre-Madoff Ponzi schemes in U.S. history. … In a separate New York state case in 2018, Hoffenberg reportedly detailed Epstein’s alleged involvement in the scam.
Theory #2: Blackmail
As the Intercept D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim noted, a piece of evidence detailed in the SDNY’s detention memo could hold a great deal of blackmail potential:
CD’s in Epstein’s safe labeled: “Young [Name] + [Name]”
That looks an awful lot like they found the blackmail tapes https://twitter.com/eorden/status/1148269651513794561 …
And in a 2015 court filing, alleged Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims that U.S. authorities were in possession of footage of her having sex with members of Epstein’s elite friend group. “Based on my knowledge of Epstein and his organization, as well as discussions with the FBI, it is my belief that federal prosecutors likely possess videotapes and photographic images of me as an underage girl having sex with Epstein and some of his powerful friends,” she said. Giuffre claimed that Epstein “debriefed her” after she was forced into sexual encounters so that he could possess “intimate and potentially embarrassing information” to blackmail friends into parking their money with him.
There are, however, laws against blackmail. For example, Bill Cosby and David Letterman had their blackmailers imprisoned.
Theory #3: Epstein “Belonged to Intelligence”
One of the more mysterious quotes of this whole conspiracy-adjacent mess comes from Alexander Acosta, the current Labor secretary, who arranged for Epstein to get off with just a wrist-slap in 2007, when he was a U.S. attorney. According to Vicky Ward, when Acosta was being interviewed for the Labor secretary job, he was asked if his involvement in the Epstein case would be a problem during his confirmation hearings.
… “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers …
Whether that’s the American intelligence community, the greater point-one-percent brain trust, or just a garbage excuse, the answer was good enough for the Trump administration to go forward with Acosta’s nomination.
You know, there are more “intelligence” agencies in this world than those.
For example, Epstein’s partner in pimpery, Ghislaine Maxwell, is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, another shady billionaire. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who broke the news of the My Lai massacre among much else, reported in his 1991 book The Samson Option, that Robert Maxwell had ties to Mossad. Maxwell was also alleged to have had ties to the KGB.
By the way, the Netanyahus, father and son, are currently barking about Epstein’s ties to their rival, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, who recently threw his hat into the ring in the upcoming election:
Hi guys please check his connections to Wexner institute registered in Ohio. Also @barak_ehud might be an interest for your investigation I’m sure he got some interesting information.
— Yair Netanyahu 🇮🇱 (@YairNetanyahu) July 8, 2019
Meanwhile, Bibi is having legal problems over his relationship with his own Bond Villain-like donor, movie producer and nuclear spy Arnon Milchan.
Theory #4: Offshore Tax Schemes / Money Laundering
Because Epstein’s wealth is held offshore and is shrouded in mystery, some speculate that he may have made his money in tax schemes or money laundering. According to a well-developed, if factually void, pan-conspiracist take from finance Twitter’s Quantian, Epstein could have blackmailed his social circle into investing with him, then dumped the cash in an offshore account to avoid taxes. Or, similar to the Ponzi scheme conspiracy — and, again, without basis in fact — there is so little paperwork on the funds that the whole thing could just be a rig for money laundering.
A general question is whether Epstein’s money comes from one single grift, in the manner of Bernie Madoff relentlessly running his pyramid scheme for year after year, or from an array of grifts, in the manner of his ex-girlfriend’s dad Robert Maxwell.
I get the impression, however, that few remember Robert Maxwell, even though he was an extremely interesting guy.
Because everybody knows that only conspiracy theorists believe in conspiracies, but since Maxwell’s entire life was one conspiracy after another, his entertaining memory Does Not Compute and has largely been forgotten.