Deceased financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein likely made it that much harder on his alleged victims to obtain any of his assets in civil litigation.
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That is because -- two days before he hung himself on August 10th in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges -- Epstein executed a will and put his more than $577 million in assets into a trust that was filed in the U.S. Virgin Islands (where he owned two islands, called Great Saint James and Little Saint James). And as a result of that, experts believe his accusers will now have to potentially spend a great deal of time, effort, and money to obtain any of Epstein's estate for the crimes he allegedly committed against them.
In his will, Epstein listed assets of more than $194 million in hedge fund and private equity investments, more than $112 million in equities, more than $56 million in cash, more than $18 million in automobiles/private jets/boats, and more than $14 million in fixed-income investments. In addition to the Virgin Islands, he also owned luxury real estate properties in New York City, Palm Beach, Paris, and Santa Fe. The two executors of the will are Epstein's lawyer of many years, Darren Indyke, and Richard Kahn.
FOX Business spoke with Joshua S. Rubenstein, a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and the national head of the firm's Trusts and Estates practice, who detailed why Epstein's alleged victims face an uphill battle.
Will Filed in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
"Filing in the Virgin Islands will make it more difficult" for potential victims and their lawyers to recover any of Epstein's assets and that may deter victims "who aren't well-funded" said Rubenstein. It is not so much the trust that Epstein created via his will that made things more difficult, but the location of the filing: "You've certainly made things more complicated for them by having a probate in the US Virgin Islands . . . They require you to come to them."
Everyone Wants a Piece:
Rubenstein also added that the accusers here, as a class of potential claimants for Epstein's estate, will come in fourth in terms of their priority to obtain any of his assets: After the US government/IRS, secured creditors, and the expenses in administering the estate.
Costly Chase to be Compensated:
Rubenstein noted: "The longer they [the accusers] wait, the worse it's going to get for them. And he [Epstein] set it up in a way that expenses will mount quickly."
In the end, Rubenstein said he believes that the victims here "will get something, but they have to be smart about it."