Protesters organized up photographs that Jeffrey Epstein, a financier dealing with sex-trafficking charges, outside the commonwealth courthouse in Manhattan top top Monday.Credit...Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

When federal prosecutors announced sex-trafficking charges against Jeffrey Epstein this week, they described him together “a male of virtually infinite means.” They suggested that his vast wealth — and his two exclusive jets — made the a flight risk.

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Mr. Epstein is routinely defined as a billionaire and also brilliant financier, and also he rubbed elbows v the powerful, consisting of former and future presidents. Even after his 2008 guilty plea in a prostitution instance in Florida, he advocated himself together a financial wizard who used arcane mathematical models, and also he regularly dropped the name of Nobel Prize-winning friends. That told potential clients the they had to invest a minimum of $1 billion. In ~ his peak in the early 2000s, a newspaper profile claimed he employed 150 people, some working out of the historical Villard homes on Madison Avenue.

Much the that shows up to be an illusion, and there is small evidence that Mr. Epstein is a billionaire.

Mr. Epstein’s riches may have depended less on his math acumen 보다 his relations to two guys — Steven J. Hoffenberg, a onetime owner that The new York Post and a infamous fraudster later on convicted of to run a $460 million Ponzi scheme, and Leslie H. Wexner, the billionaire founder of sleeve chains including The restricted and the chief executive of the firm that own Victoria’s Secret.

Mr. Hoffenberg to be Mr. Epstein’s companion in 2 ill-fated take over bids in the 1980s, consisting of one of Pan American civilization Airways, and also would later claim that Mr. Epstein had been part of the plan that landing him in jail — back Mr. Epstein was never charged. Through Mr. Wexner, Mr. Epstein created a financial and an individual bond the baffled longtime associates the the wealthy retail magnate, that was his only publicly disclosed investor.

Now he’s “not a fan.”>

Mr. Epstein’s firm, Financial trust Company, has actually released no audited gaue won statements or performance reports to earlier up his cases of investment prowess. In a 2002 court filing, Mr. Epstein said he had 20 employees, far fewer than reported figures approximately that time. Six years later, the lost huge sums that money in the financial crisis. And also friends and also patrons — consisting of Mr. Wexner — deserted that after the pleaded guilty to prostitution dues in 2008.

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Mr. Epstein, 66, is doubtless really rich: His real estate alone — among Manhattan’s largest private mansions, a Palm beach estate, a Paris apartment, his very own Caribbean island and also a huge brand-new Mexico ranch — is worth much more than $200 million. His investment firm reported having $88 million in funding from its shareholders in 2002.