Fund for Jeffery Epstein Victims Received 225 Claims, Paid Almost $125M to Over 135 People

A fund for victims of financier Jeffrey Epstein received 225 claims and paid almost $125 million to over 135 people, the Associated Press reported.

The administrator of the Epstein Victims Compensation Program, Jordana Feldman, made the announcement Monday after the fund was established in June 2020 separately from the Epstein estate. Epstein, 66, was found dead from suicide in August 2019 in a Manhattan prison a month after he was arrested on sex trafficking charges. Although 225 claims were received, about 100 or so were expected based on multiple women's lawsuits and conversations with lawyers.

Claimants were paid after detailing their experiences confidentially. Feldman said she personally spoke with more than 200 applicants to the fund.

"It was for many of the victims the first time they told their stories from the beginning," Feldman said.

Epstein was accused of decades of sexual abuse against teenage girls and women. The funds for the payouts came from finances from the Epstein estate, according to Feldman. She said 92 percent of 150 eligible applicants accepted the fund's payouts.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

American Financier Jeffrey Epstein
A fund for victims of Jeffrey Epstein received 225 claims and has paid almost $125 million to over 135 people. In this photo, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Epstein on July 8, 2019, in New York City. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The fund announced that it has largely completed its work after agreeing to deliver the payouts.

Dozens of women have alleged abuse by Epstein, often by turning mansion massages into sexual assaults.

Payouts were generally processed and paid within two to three months after claimants shared their experiences in confidential meetings, according to a release from the fund.

Feldman, who declined to provide demographics on claimants, said when she met individually with fund applicants, she tried to put them at ease at the outset by saying nothing would be recorded, leading them to "kind of relax their shoulders a little bit."

"I do think that there was a sense of comfort knowing that this was a safe space to share their stories. And I think that the process was exhausting but empowering for many of these victims. Empowerment in having come forward and reclaiming a sense of control and ownership in their own narrative," she said.

Feldman said she also did not record the meetings because she didn't want to create an extra record of the meetings, which occurred as criminal probes continue into Epstein and those who might have aided his sex crimes since the 1990s. His ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges and awaits a November trial in Manhattan federal court.

Though the meetings were scheduled for one hour, some went much longer, Feldman said.

The fund was designed as an alternative to lawsuits, which can take years to proceed to a payout.

Awards were not formulaic but instead resulted from a study of numerous factors, including the victim's age, severity of abuse, frequency and impact of abuse, the extent of collaboration and the general credibility of the claim, Feldman said.

Brad Edwards, a Florida attorney who had several dozens of clients participate in the process, called the claim program "largely successful."

"The majority of victims accepted the determination of the administrators, settled their cases, and were happy to get through this process and resume healing," Edwards said in an email.

He said some victims, though, "felt the determination from the program was inadequate and will be litigating their claims."

The fund was established with help from Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw compensation funds for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and of clergy sex abuse within New York's Roman Catholic archdiocese. Feldman said she worked for a decade on the 9-11 compensation fund.

The payouts were financed with money from Epstein's estate, including expenses of $8 million to $9 million, Feldman said.