U.S.V.I. – Today, Attorney General for the U.S. Virgin
Islands Denise N. George filed an enforcement action under the laws of the
Virgin Islands against Jeffrey E. Epstein’s estate, his 1953 trust and five associated
entities that are alleged to have conspired with Jeffrey Epstein in carrying
out an expansive scheme of human trafficking and sexually abusing young women
and underage girls in the Virgin Islands.
The Government’s complaint alleges that Epstein anchored a
criminal enterprise, the “Epstein Enterprise.” Through this enterprise numerous
young women and female children have been sex trafficked, raped, sexually
assaulted and held captive in the Virgin Islands at Epstein’s secluded private
island of Little St. James. Participants in the Epstein Enterprise used
deception, fraud and coercion to entice and lure vulnerable girls, some as
young as 13-years-old, into human sex trafficking, with promises to help them
and their families pay for school, health care, or other financial needs. Epstein,
along with other associates, carried out and concealed his scheme.
The lawsuit also alleges that once the girls and young women were
recruited and transported to the U.S. Virgin Islands by private plane, they
were held captive on his private island and sexually abused by Epstein and his associates.
The Epstein Enterprise enforced victims’ sexual servitude by confiscating
passports, controlling communications, and threatening violence.
The complaint alleges the Enterprise violated the Virgin Islands
Uniform Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act, and the Virgin
Islands’ Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Acts (CICO). These laws are among the strongest in the nation that prohibit
sex trafficking and sexual servitude in the Virgin Islands. These laws permit the Government of the
Virgin Islands to acquire assets, impose civil penalties, and seek damages
permitted by under the law.
“The conduct of Epstein and his associates shocks the conscience
and betrays the deepest principles and laws of the Virgin Islands,” said
Attorney General Denise N. George. “This has been a top priority for this
administration since I took office in April 2019. The Virgin Islands is not,
and will not be, a safe haven for human trafficking and sexual exploitation. We
will hold accountable those who break our laws regardless of political, social
or economic status.”
The complaint further asserts that in 1998, Epstein purchased the
island of Little St. James in the Virgin Islands. Then in 2016, Epstein
purchased another island in the Virgin Islands, Great St. James. Epstein used
and intended to use his Virgin Island properties to plan, carry out and conceal
the activities of the Epstein Enterprise.
In our complaint, the Government
of the Virgin Islands seeks civil sanctions and remedies and brings the suit to
extinguish and recoup any and all financial and other benefits that flowed to
Epstein and his associates as a result of their operations in the Virgin Islands.
We also seek to obtain a civil
forfeiture or divestiture of any and all properties and instrumentalities used
by the Epstein Enterprise to implement the criminal pattern of sex trafficking
and sexual abuse, including the islands of Little St. James and Great St. James.
George took office in April 2019. A native Virgin
Islander, Attorney George was serving as Senior Staff Attorney at the Virgin Islands Port Authority
since 2016 until her nomination as attorney general. Prior, Attorney George served as an
Assistant Attorney General and trial attorney in the criminal, civil, family,
juvenile, white collar and public corruption divisions of the Virgin Islands
Department of Justice for more than 18 years. During her tenure, she
successfully prosecuted a full spectrum of violent crimes, including murder,
manslaughter, rape, domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse as well
as complex white collar and public corruption crimes. As a member of the St.
Thomas Child Abuse Task Force, she co-authored the Virgin Islands' first
criminal child abuse and neglect statute. In the Civil Division, she
represented the Government of the Virgin Islands in civil lawsuits filed
against and on behalf of the government.
If you were a victim or witness of any of the alleged activity of
Jeffrey Epstein in the U.S. Virgin Islands, please call this number: (800) 998-7559. You may be able
to assist in the ongoing Attorney General investigation.
The suit is Government of
the United States Virgin Islands v. Estate of Jeffrey E. Epstein, et al in
the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands Division of St. Thomas and St. John.
the full complaint here.
A press conference was held on Wednesday, January 15 2020 and can be viewed here.