Prosecutors are accusing JP Morgan Chase of being complicit in the facilitation of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking network.
Prosecutors say that JP Morgan Chase “knowingly, negligently, and unlawfully provided and pulled the levers through which recruiters and victims were paid and was indispensable to the operation and concealment of the Epstein trafficking enterprise,” according to a legal filing for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, reported Timcast.
The bank is accused of violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Virgin Islands Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and the Virgin Islands Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. More specifically, prosecutors allege that the bank knowingly facilitated and concealed wire transfers that should have triggered suspicious activity reports (SARs). Prosecutors say these wire transfers pertained to Epstein’s sex trafficking operation, the legal filing stating:
“JP Morgan facilitated and concealed wire and cash transactions that raised suspicion of—and were in fact part of—a criminal enterprise whose currency was the sexual servitude of dozens of women and girls in and beyond the Virgin Islands. Human trafficking was the principal business of the accounts Epstein maintained at JP Morgan.”
The legal filing alleges further that Epstein deposited funds with JP Morgan Chase in exchange for the uninhibited operation of his sex trafficking activities:
“JP Morgan and its employees had actual knowledge that they were facilitating Epstein’s sexual abuse and sex-trafficking conspiracy to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, and maintain young women and underage girls to engage in commercial sex acts through the means of force, threats of force, fraud, abuse of process, and coercion.
Despite this knowledge, JP Morgan intentionally paid for, concealed, facilitated and participated in Epstein’s and his co-conspirators’ violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a), which JP Morgan knew and was in reckless disregard of the fact that Epstein and his co-conspirators would use its bank accounts and financial transactions to coerce, defraud, and force young women and underage girls to engage in commercial sex acts.
JP Morgan, through its employees and agents and their role in facilitating the financial aspect of Epstein’s enterprise, actively facilitated or participated in the sex-trafficking conspiracy in which Epstein and his co-conspirators led young women and underage girls in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere to believe that they would be rewarded if they cooperated with Epstein and his co-conspirators and acquiesced to their demands.”
Epstein had been a registered sex offender since 2008 after pleading guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Palm Beach, Florida. Under Virgin Islands law, he was considered a “Tier 1 offender.” While awaiting trial for sexual abuse of minors and trafficking charges, according to Daily Mail.
Epstein first became a client of Chase bank in 1998. Rumors circulating since the financier’s death say that the bank’s executives wanted to keep him as a client because of his connections with some of the richest people in the world. JP Morgan Chase finally cut ties with him in 2013.
Two separate lawsuits were reportedly filed in November against Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase by victims of Epstein. They allege that the banks played an integral role in the trafficking operation because large sums of money were withdrawn to pay the victims.
Both lawsuits are class actions lawsuits naming “Jane Doe 1, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated.” In the case against Deutsche Bank, an unnamed woman alleges that Epstein trafficked and sexually abused her between 2003 and 2018, saying that she was paid in cash in exchange for sex acts.