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The Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program

By: Dean Kaire, Esq. Mar 07, 2022
Last updated Dec 28, 2023
Main > Our Blog > The History of the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program
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When Jeffrey Epstein died in his prison cell of an apparent suicide on August 10, 2019, there were concerns regarding how all victims, then estimated to be at least 100 women, would be able to receive the money awarded to them in a civil lawsuit against Epstein’s estate. The former financier and notorious pedophile was known to have sexually abused and trafficked young girls and women across his multiple properties all over the world under the false premise of securing them desired career or educational opportunities. After more than a decade of fighting to hold Epstein and his accomplices responsible for their crimes, Epstein was finally arrested in July 2019. He was accused of rape, human trafficking, sexual abuse, false imprisonment, unlawful sex with minors, procuring a minor for prostitution, and other sex-related offenses. After being convicted for soliciting prostitution from a minor and awaiting trial for federal child sex trafficking charges, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell. He was in prison for just over a month when he apparently hanged himself.

Key Takeaways

  • The Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund (VCF) was formed after Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide in August 2019 to establish a process for survivors to bring a claim against his estate.
  • The Epstein VCP was available to all survivors of sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein irrespective of where and when they were harmed.
  • The compensation fund has awarded over $121 million to 135 survivors.

Why was the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund Created?

At the time of Epstein’s suicide in 2019, his estate was valued at roughly $635 million. However, the assets were not liquid. To make things more complicated for survivors who had waited years for justice, Epstein put much of his money into a trust for the benefit of his brother, Mark Epstein, by filing a new will in the U.S. Virgin Islands just two days before his death.

Seeing this turn of events as an immediate concern and impediment to justice for the survivors, Edwards Henderson attorneys Brad Edwards and Brittany Henderson were determined to find a solution to this potential challenge early on. Edwards has represented more than 70 women against Epstein as well as his associates, enablers, and estate, and has fought for justice against the U.S. government for its 2008 sweetheart plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal changes and spend just over a year in jail. Edwards and Henderson were two of the plaintiff’s attorneys who were instrumental in the creation of the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program.

What was the Process for Claiming Compensation?

The Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program, or the Epstein VCP, which was open for almost one year, established a process where any survivor of sexual abuse by Epstein was entitled to bring a claim against his estate. The compensation was provided to the survivors in order to resolve their sexual abuse and other sex-related claims. The Epstein VCP operated independently from Epstein’s estate and was organized and run by nationally recognized independent claims administration experts. All survivors who sought compensation from the Epstein VCP signed broad releases that barred them from filing future claims against the Epstein Estate or people Epstein had worked with in his sex trafficking ring, including his ex-girlfriend and long-time accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell.

The Epstein VCP provided a faster alternative for survivors to receive the compensation they were entitled to as a result of the harm suffered due to Epstein’s sexual abuse. The program was voluntary and did not require any individual to participate. Fund administrator Jordana Feldman, who had previously worked on the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, stated that she wanted the eligible survivors to receive the money as soon as possible “in a meaningful and purposeful way.” The fund aimed to process all claims before the second anniversary of Epstein’s death.

The participating survivors’ claims were independently evaluated based on a set of protocols and were free from any interference by the Epstein Estate. The estate had no grounds to reject or modify any eligibility or compensation determination that the Epstein VCP awarded to the eligible claimants. All terms and conditions of the program are set forth in the program protocol on the Epstein Victim’s Compensation Program website. Feldman retained complete and exclusive authority to decide who was eligible for the compensation. A lot of weight was put on the meetings with claimants for deciding the compensation amounts handed to the survivors. The fund promised anonymity and confidentiality for the claimants, which means none of their video interviews were recorded or transcribed.

According to the program protocol, the Epstein VCP was available to all survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by Jeffrey Epstein regardless of where and when they were harmed. The fund also gave the survivors a chance to bring claims that were time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations. All individuals who had taken any legal action against Epstein, the Epstein Estate, or any related entities or individuals or those who were otherwise identified as a victim were invited to file a claim. The rest could submit a claim using the registration form on the Epstein VCP website. The deadline to register claims expired on February 8, 2021, and the claim filing deadline expired on March 25, 2021.

Claims received were determined on a rolling basis. The eligibility for the participation of such individuals was decided within a period of 45 days based on the information submitted. The fund administrator provided an additional 30 days to those with missing information or documentation. There was no fee for filing a claim. The eligibility decision was sent to the participants through a compensation determination letter. If selected, the compensation offer was valid for a period of 60 days from the date of this letter. The payments issued ranged from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than a million dollars, depending on all the available information. Feldman considered factors including, the nature, duration, and extent of the abuse; the age of the survivor at the time of abuse; degree of harm resulting from the abuse; the credibility of the claim based on the totality of circumstances, supporting documents, and evidence; and whether the claimant had previously entered into a settlement agreement with Epstein.

Was the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program a Success?

At the time of the initiation of the fund, it was expected that there would be around 100 people who would come forward with their claims. While some survivors held mixed emotions about the Epstein VCF and chose to pursue civil litigation against the Epstein Estate on their own, the fund received around 225 applications from alleged survivors of the crime. Around 150 were deemed eligible for compensation by the fund administrators. Ninety-two percent of claimants accepted the compensation they were offered. At its conclusion, the Epstein VCP awarded over $121 million to 135 survivors.

Without the help of Brad Edwards, Brittany Henderson, and other survivors’ attorneys who helped provide key input for the creation of the Epstein VCP, a majority of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims would likely still be tied up in ongoing litigations against the Epstein Estate.

Contact the Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Edwards Henderson

Our firm Edwards Henderson is committed to helping survivors of sexual assault pursue justice and financial compensation for the harm they suffered. Our team of skilled and experienced sex abuse attorneys has helped survivors hold their abusers accountable and secure multiple multi-million dollar verdicts. If you or someone you love has been sexually abused, contact us to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.

Article Sources

  1. Of Jeffrey Epstein And The Assets He Placed Into Trust Two Days Before His Deat
  2. Epstein Victims' Compensation Program
  3. Fund for Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims Has Paid Out More Than $121 Million
  4. Jeffrey Epstein Victims Fund AwardsAlmost $125 Million to About 150 People

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