The Southern District of New York announced new sex crime charges against billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein on Monday focusing on the mogul’s trafficking of underage girls.
Epstein, 66, stands accused on operating a sex-trafficking operation luring “dozens” of underage girls to his two mansions on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and in Palm Beach, Florida, according to the indictment unsealed by prosecutors.
“Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit in locations including New York and Palm Beach,” the prosecutors said in the indictment. “Epstein intentionally sought out minor and knew that many of his victims were in fact under the age of 18.”
Epstein is accused of engaging in sex acts with underage girls as young as 14 which featured nude massage sessions and then paying the girls hundreds of dollars in cash in return. Prosecutors said Epstein also asked his victims to recruit other underage girls in both New York and Florida.
“Epstein incentivized his victims to become recruiters by paying these victim-recruiters hundreds of dollars for each girl that they brought to Epstein,” prosecutors asserted. “In so doing, Epstein maintained a steady supply of new victims to exploit.”
Prosecutors say Epstein also worked with employees and business associates to attract new victims and schedule sexual encounters with Epstein.
Epstein was arrested in New Jersey on Saturday upon returning from a private international flight from France according to law enforcement officials and faces a combined maximum of 45 years in prison if found guilty.
The charges released today follow a decade-long effort to arrest Epstein on sex crimes after the hedge fund manager took a secret plea deal on similar charges in 2008. The deal included less severe charges of soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution.
Prosecutors said Epstein’s operation lasted from at least 2002 to 2005.
Epstein plead not guilty in court on Monday. Read the full indictment here.