JPMorgan To Pay $75M To Settle Epstein Suit

Most of the money is to go to charities supporting sex-crime victims and to help law enforcement fight sex trafficking and other crimes.

By Matthew Goldstein

JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $75 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands to settle claims that it facilitated the activities of Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who died by suicide in 2019, according to a statement released by the bank Tuesday.

The tentative settlement comes just weeks before a scheduled trial in federal court in New York City on the U.S. territory’s claim that the bank enabled Epstein’s sex trafficking operation of teenage girls and young women for nearly 15 years.

The bank also said it had reached a confidential settlement with James Staley, a former top banker who had been one of the biggest advocates for keeping Epstein as a client.

JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank, already agreed in June to pay $290 million to the nearly 200 victims of Epstein in a class-action lawsuit that mirrored many of the claims raised by the Virgin Islands.

The U.S. Virgin Islands sued JPMorgan in December, and about a month later, lawyers for Epstein’s victims had sued the bank. The U.S. territory said it was seeking up to $190 million in compensation from the bank, which it claimed had ignored warning signs about Epstein’s activities and chose to look the other way because he generated business for it.

The money the bank is paying to the Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a private island residence for roughly two decades, will mostly go toward funding charitable causes in the U.S. territory in the Caribbean and paying lawyer fees. The settlement specifically calls for $30 million to go to local charities that support local victims of sex crimes and $25 million to help law enforcement fight sex trafficking and other crimes.

Epstein killed himself in a federal jail in New York in August 2019, a month after he had was arrested on federal sex trafficking charges. Epstein had been a client of JPMorgan both before and after he pleaded guilty in 2008 to a charge of soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl and had to register as a sex offender in New York, Florida and the Virgin Islands.

The bank agreed to settle with the Virgin Islands after months of embarrassing disclosures about how top executives continued to keep Epstein on as a client despite numerous warning signs that he was paying large sums of money to teenage girls and young women without any good explanation.

The Virgin Islands government said in a statement that the bank made “substantial commitments” as part of the settlement to bolster its systems to detect and deter sex trafficking.

The bank fired Epstein as a client in 2013 but only after Staley, the former head of JPMorgan’s private bank, left for another job.

The bank sued Staley, also a former CEO of Barclays, shortly after the U.S. Virgin Islands filed its lawsuit. The bank had been seeking reimbursement for some of its costs associated with the litigation. The bank said the terms of the settlement with Staley were confidential.

Representatives for Staley were not immediately available for comment.

JPMorgan said its settlement with the Virgin Islands did not involve any admission of liability. The bank, as it has said before, reiterated in its statement that it “deeply regrets any association” with Epstein.

The settlement includes $20 million in lawyer fees, which the Virgin Islands will use to pay Motley Rice, a big U.S. plaintiffs firm that has a retainer agreement with the government.

The Virgin Islands previously reached a $105 million settlement with the estate of Epstein and a $62.5 million settlement with Wall Street billionaire Leon Black, who was the single biggest client of Epstein’s main money-making business in St. Thomas.

c.2023 The New York Times Company. This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Latest news

Black Swan Fears Drive Caution, Plus 60/40 Three-Decade Performance

VIX sees record trading as looming economic and geopolitical risks keep investors cautious about a potential return of volatility.

Carson Group: Still Too Few Women in Wealth Management

Its latest report confirms the industry has made little progress in gender diversity despite a lot of talk.

Supreme Court Seems Wary of SEC’s In-House Tribunals Without Juries

The Supreme Court discussed a case involving a hedge fund manager in which the SEC brought a civil enforcement proceeding that charged he mislead investors.

Annuity Sales Continue March Upward

Annuity sales are set to have another record-breaking year, based on results in the third quarter.

Humana, Cigna in Talks to Merge

A deal would give Cigna a much greater foothold in the fast-growing market for managing federal Medicare plans for older Americans.

Aretha Franklin’s Sons Awarded Late Singer’s Real Estate

They now own the late singer's real estate after a judge ruled that a handwritten will found hidden in her sofa was the correct document.