Fund for Jeffrey Epstein victims resumes payouts

FILE PHOTO: Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photo taken for the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services' sex offender registry

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A fund providing restitution to victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuses will resume offering payouts following a five-week halt, after receiving assurances from the late financier’s estate there will be enough cash to fund payouts.

Jordana Feldman, the fund’s administrator, announced the immediate resumption of full operations at the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program on Friday, following the receipt of $10 million from the proceeds of recent sales of Epstein’s homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.

The program has received more than 175 claims since being created last June, and paid out more than $67 million. Eligible victims have until March 25 to file claims.

Feldman had suspended payout offers on Feb. 4, citing uncertainty about the liquidity of assets from the estate to fund payouts.

The resumption came after Epstein’s townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was sold this week for $51 million, according to Daniel Weiner, a lawyer for the estate’s executors.

It also followed the rejection by a judge in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned two islands, of a bid by the territory’s attorney general Denise George to freeze the estate’s assets, saying George lacked legal standing.

George had complained that the estate’s assets were falling too fast, and accused the two executors of being the “indispensable captains” of Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme. The executors rejected her misconduct allegations.

Once worth $634 million, Epstein’s estate was recently worth $240.8 million after paying taxes and other expenses, and contributing money to the victims’ fund.

Epstein signed his will on Aug. 8, 2019, two days before killing himself in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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