Jeffrey Epstein Victims Fund Suspends Payouts Due To Liquidity Issues
A compensation fund set up for sexual abuse survivors of the late Jeffrey Epstein has been temporarily frozen due to liquidity issues, the fund administrator said on Thursday.
The Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program said it is immediately halting all payouts for at least the next seven weeks amid uncertainty over whether all eligible claims can be paid fully and in a timely fashion by Epstein’s estate, which has warned of money woes in recent months.
“Although I sincerely regret having to take this action, I have concluded that it is necessary to protect the interests of eligible claimants who have not yet resolved their claims through the Program,” fund administrator Jordana H. Feldman said in a statement. “I remain deeply committed to ensuring that the Program continues to operate with transparency and integrity, and that all eligible claimants receive the compensation and validation they deserve.”
The compensation program has already received more than 150 claims ― “far exceeding expectations,” according to Thursday’s press release ― and has paid out more than $500 million. The suspension of payouts is expected to last until sometime after March 25 and is dependent on how many additional claims are received and approved before two upcoming deadlines.
Individuals seeking compensation from the fund have until Monday to register. Those approved then have until March 25 to file a claim. The program said it expects that it will be able to make a better determination about its financial capabilities after the latter deadline.
The program began accepting claims related to the disgraced financier in late June of last year, which was a little less than a year after Epstein, then facing federal sex-trafficking charges, was found dead in a New York City jail.
The suspension of payouts follows reports of money issues within the Epstein estate, which is independent of the victims compensation program.
Late last year, the estate reported having roughly $240.8 million in assets, down from nearly $446 million reported in September. A large chunk of the estate’s payments have gone to lawyers, who have received tens of millions of dollars every three months, the Miami Herald reported.
Attorneys for the estate said it has had difficulty selling all of its assets, including residential properties, private investments and aircraft. There have also been legal expenses and administrative costs.
“Regrettably, the Co-Executors’ efforts to sell these assets have been hampered by the now nearly-year-long coronavirus pandemic, and its enormous adverse effect on local and global economies,” Daniel Weiner, a lawyer for the estate’s executors, told NBC News this month.
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