Jeffrey Edward Epstein (January 20, 1953 – August 10, 2019) was an American investment banker and convicted sex offender. In 2019, he was charged with running a child sexual exploitation ring. He died in custody while preparing for the trial; according to the autopsy report by suicide. The circumstances of death triggered a judicial scandal, followed by speculation about possible third-party negligence ("Epstein didn't kill himself").
Jeffrey Epstein was born on January 20, 1953 in New York City and grew up in a Jewish family in Sea Gate, a gated community on the western edge of Coney Island in Brooklyn. He attended Lafayette High School in Brooklyn. Like his brother Mark, Epstein was interested in mathematics at an early age. From 1969 to 1971 he took courses in physics at Cooper Union College in Manhattan without obtaining a degree. In 1971 Epstein was enrolled in the Courant Institute for Mathematics at New York University, where he took courses in "Mathematical Physiology of the Heart"; he also did not obtain a degree there. From 1973 to 1975 Epstein taught mathematics and physics at the Dalton School, an exclusive private school on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Donald Barr, the director, hired Epstein at the age of 20, despite his patchy academic record. A Wall Street college student father was so impressed with him that he referred him to "Ace" Greenberg (1927-2014), then a chief executive at investment banking and brokerage agency Bear Stearns, one of Wall Street's largest banks.
Wall Street debut
In 1976, Epstein joined Bear Stearns as a junior assistant floor trader at the American Stock Exchange and rose rapidly under his tutors Greenberg and James E. Cayne. Greenberg was looking at this time for Bear Stearns preferred employees, which he called PSDs: Poor (Poor) - Smart (Smart) - Desire to become rich (Desire to become rich), and who lacked the degrees to do so. This is when options trading began. To trade options, you had to value them. This required mastering mathematical concepts such as the Black-Scholes model. Bear Stearns' Jimmy Cayne said of Epstein: "Because of his background in mathematics, we placed him in our specialty products division where he would advise our wealthier clients on the tax implications of their portfolios. He should recommend certain tax-advantageous transactions. He's a very smart guy and has also become a very important customer for the company.” He was a Limited Partner at Bear Stearns in 1980 but left the firm a year later in unclear circumstances. That same year, Epstein formed his own company, Intercontinental Assets Group Inc., incorporated in New York, to assist clients in pursuing recovery claims against fraudulent brokers and attorneys.
Tower Financial Corporation
In 1987, Steven Hoffenberg hired Epstein as a consultant for Towers Financial Corporation in offices at the Villard Houses in Manhattan, paying him $25,000 a month.
In 1993, Towers Financial Corporation imploded as one of the largest Ponzi schemes in US history, with investors losing over $450 million. According to Hoffenberg, Epstein was intimately involved in the scheme. However, he was never charged with involvement in the massive fraud and had left the company before the collapse. Whether he siphoned off funds from the Towers Ponzi scheme is unknown.
In 1982, Epstein founded a New York-based fortune company