Jeffrey Epstein, awaiting sex charges, commits suicide in federal custody

Javier E. David
Editor focused on markets and the economy
Police officers stand outside New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital, where Jeffrey Epstein's body was transported, in Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Jeffrey Epstein, the 66-year-old financier awaiting trial on multiple sex trafficking charges, committed suicide in federal custody early Saturday morning, punctuating the stunning downfall of a wealthy investor with friends in high places.

Multiple publications reported that the self-made mogul, who had numerous connections among the rich and powerful, was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he’s been remanded since his arrest in July. He was facing accusations that he sexually abused dozens of minor girls in New York and Florida.

Epstein “was found unresponsive in his cell in the Special Housing Unit from an apparent suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York, New York,” according to a statement from a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson. “Life-saving measures were initiated immediately by responding staff.”

The multi-millionaire was transported to an area hospital to be treated, but was pronounced dead by the hospital, the statement read. The FBI is investigating the case, it added.

Last month, Epstein was discovered injured in his cell, but it was unclear whether he was attacked or had attempted to kill himself.

Stunning fall

Facilities at Great St. James Island, a property linked to financier Jeffrey Epstein, are seen in an aerial view near Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands July 21, 2019. REUTERS/Marco Bello

The investor’s embroilment in sex scandal — and his subsequent arrest and death — brings to a close a sordid chapter in the case of a wealthy man who became famous for his connections, and the trappings of wealth with which he surrounded himself.

Until his arrest last month on charges that he "exploited and abused" dozens of underage girls, Epstein maintained a lavish lifestyle with his fleet of aircraft and luxury cars, mansions, and his own private island.

While there was some dispute about whether he was even a billionaire, what is known is that Epstein didn’t finish college — but managed to ascend to the top of the finance world by exclusively managing the assets of clients with a net-worth of $1 billion or more.

The money funded an extravagant and well-connected lifestyle that allowed the Brooklyn native to cavort with boldface names like President Bill Clinton, current President Donald Trump, and a host of big names in Wall Street, media and academia.

More than a decade ago, Epstein was convicted on sex charges in Florida — and the case’s handling sparked a firestorm that led to the recent resignation of Alex Acosta, the federal prosecutor who handled his case in Southern Florida.

Epstein’s relatively brief period of incarceration did little to prevent his continued socializing with the upper echelons of the business world.

The financier was said to have moved millions through dozens of accounts, which came under scrutiny as his legal troubles mounted. After the Miami Herald published an exhaustive investigation into the accusations surrounding Epstein, Deutsche Bank reportedly began to sever its relationship with the embattled investor.

As prosecutors built their case, Deutsche reportedly flagged suspicious transactions in which Epstein was moving significant cash out of the United States.

—Yahoo Finance’s Julia LaRoche and Calder McHugh contributed to this report.

Javier David is an editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow Javier on Twitter: @TeflonGeek

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