In a court filing last week, prosecutors said they had determined that financier Jeffrey Epstein was worth at least $500 million and earning $10 million a year—the first concrete details about his wealth to emerge in years.
But while the documents confirmed that the accused sex trafficker is fantastically wealthy, the source of Epstein’s fortune remains a mystery. How did a money manager with a single confirmed client amass riches including a $77-million Manhattan mansion and his own private Caribbean island?
Convicted financial swindler Steven Hoffenberg has offered an explanation: He claims Epstein is a Ponzi schemer who helped him bilk tens of thousands of investors in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Epstein and the corporations he formed were my co-conspirators,” Hoffenberg alleged in an affidavit for a federal lawsuit.
“Epstein has remained free and has used and benefited from the ill-gotten gains he amassed as a result of his criminal and fraudulent activities.”
Hoffenberg is a cartoonish character who burst onto the public scene in 1993 when then-Gov. Mario Cuomo asked the bill-collection kingpin to rescue the New York Post, then owned by bankrupt real estate titan Peter Kalikow.
Hoffenberg had barely taken control of the paper, while waiting for his deal with Kalikow to go through, when the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had been investigating him for years, filed a civil suit against him and his company, Towers Financial.
A year later, Hoffenberg was under indictment, charged with selling $460 million worth of bogus notes and bonds and using the proceeds from some to pay interest to others in what was then one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history. – READ MORE