Ghislaine Maxwell went to ‘extreme lengths’ to stay under the radar over the last year while in hiding, prosecutors said in court documents on Thursday after arresting the 58-year-old on child sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell is accused of not only procuring three underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with between 1994 and 1997 but also of having sex with them herself.
She was arrested at a home sprawling $1million New Hamphire property on Thursday morning.
She bought the house in December for cash, paying for it through an LLC to avoid detection.
Before then, prosecutors say she moved location at least twice but that she stayed in New England. She was last seen in public in August 2019 at an In-N-Out Burger in L.A., ten days after Epstein killed himself in prison.
It’s unclear how long the FBI was watching her.
According to a memo filed in court on Thursday asking for a judge to deny her bail, Maxwell changed her phone number and her email address.
Ghislaine Maxwell, shown last August – the last time she was seen publicly – was arrested on Thursday morning
Maxwell was picked up by the FBI and NYPD detectives at 8.30am at the property in Bradford, New Hampshire, she had bought in December 2019 using a limited liability company called Granite LLC to shield her name
Maxwell was arrested at the luxurious mountain top home — dubbed Tuckedaway — outside tiny Bradford, New Hampshire
She registered a new phone number under the name ‘G Max’, and used a different, unspecified fake name to have packages delivered to her.
She also moved money between 15 different bank accounts, the total balance of which has varied from hundreds of thousands of dollars to $20million over the last few years, according to investigators.
In once case, she moved $500,000 from one account to another.
The prosecutors point to the fact she has three passports (British, French and American) and say her high-flying, international lifestyle makes her a major flight risk.
She has not yet gone before a judge.
A grand jury returned a sealed, six-count indictment against her on June 29 which accuses her of enticing underage girls to travel for sex, actually having sex with them and Epstein and later lying about it under oath in depositions when she was being sued by Virginia Giuffre Roberts, one of Epstein’s accusers who says she had sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17.
Prosecutors say there is strong evidence to back up what is alleged.
The charges relate to incidents that happened between 1994 and 1997 and involve three unnamed victims, the youngest of whom was 14. The alleged abuse happened at Epstein’s homes in New York, Florida and New Mexico and at Maxwell’s home in London.
Epstein has been accused of abusing dozens more girls and Maxwell is tangentially associated with the decades of alleged horror because, the accusers say, she was always by his side or making arrangements for him and them.
Maxwell, the British socialite daughter of the late, disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell whose impressive international network of friends and acquaintances includes the Clintons, has been a ghost since Epstein was arrested last June on charges of sex trafficking. She is who introduced him to Prince Andrew and set up the 2001 London night out when the royal allegedly had sex with Giuffre.
Epstein with Maxwell in 2000
On Thursday, Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss said the investigation into Epstein’s decades of abuse is ongoing and that she’d ‘welcome’ Prince Andrew ‘coming in to provide a statement’, prompting speculation that he may among people investigators may focus their attention on next.
‘We would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk to us. We would like to have the benefit of his statement. Our doors remain open. We would welcome him coming in and giving us an opportunity to hear his statement,’ she said.
It opens the door to questions of jurisdiction and whether or not US Attorney Strauss may charge for alleged incidents that happened in London and not America. Among the claims in the indictment is that Maxwell groomed one of the victims in London. At her press conference, Strauss said some of the sexual abuse also happened at Maxwell’s house in London.
The charges against Maxwell are: conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, Enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, Transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury.
If convicted, she could face life in prison on the most serious charge – transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity – which carries a minimum 10 year sentence.
The indictment alleges;
- Maxwell groomed three unnamed girls, all under the age of 18, in London, New York and Florida, and New Mexico between 1994 and 1997
- She befriended them by taking them to the movies or on shopping sprees and ‘normalized’ abusive behavior by getting undressed in front of them herself
- She encouraged them to travel to meet Epstein and engage in sex acts with them and him like ‘group massage sex’ in Epstein’s homes
- Her introduction of them to him resulted in him abusing them when she was not present
- She lied in 2016 depositions while being sued by Virginia Giuffre Roberts that she’d never groomed or had sex with underage girls herself
It reads in part: ‘Ghislaine Maxwell facilitated Jeffrey Epstein’s access to minor victims knowing that he had a sexual preference for underage girls and that he intended to engage in sexual activity with those victims’.
When she met Epstein, she had an astonishing network of influential and important friends and acquaintances around the world which many say is what drew him to her.
Among them are Bill and Chelsea Clinton.
She was photographed at Chelsea’s wedding and she also flew with Clinton on Epstein’s private jet, dubbed the ‘Lolita Express’ because it was used to ferry young girls to his private Caribbean island or ranch in New Mexico.
She has also been photographed with Epstein and Donald and Melania Trump at parties, years before Epstein became a social pariah.
Among the allegations in the indictment is that Maxwell groomed the girls, including one in London.
‘Victim 1’ met Maxwell when she was 14 in 1994, the indictment reads.
‘Maxwell ‘groomed [her] by taking her to the movies and on shopping trips.
‘She also asked her about school, her classes, her family and other aspects of her life.
‘She then sought to normalize inappropriate and abusive conduct by, among other things, undressing in front of her and being present when she undressed in front of Epstein,’ according to the indictment.
The trio then engaged in ‘group massage sex’ on more than one occasion, the indictment claims.
‘Victim 2’ met Ghislaine in 1996 and groomed her at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch.
‘Victim 3’ met Maxwell in London in 1994 and was groomed until 1995 where she had sex with them.
At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Acting US Attorney for the Southern District Audrey Strauss, said: ‘Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, then delivered them into the trap that she and Epstein had set for them.
‘She pretended to be a woman they could trust, all the while she was setting them up to be sexually abused by Epstein in some cases, by Maxwell herself.
‘Today after many years, Ghislaine Maxwell finally stands charged for her role in these crimes.’
FBI Special Agent William Sweeney said the bureau had been ‘keeping tabs’ on Maxwell ‘for some time’.
‘We have been discreetly keeping tabs on Maxwell for some time.
Since Epstein’s arrest and suicide, his victims have demanded that others involved in the abuse be brought to justice. Maxwell has always been at the top of their list.
She allegedly approached girls in high schools, at country clubs and even in the street if she thought they would be to Epstein’s liking.
She would tell them that she worked for a wealthy man who would generously help them if they agreed to come to his home and massage him for money, the women say.
Giuffre has shared the most explosive allegations against her.
She claims that Maxwell took part in her first sexual encounter with Epstein and that the three of them regularly had sex.
She also claims that when she tried to break free from Epstein, Maxwell threatened her.
Others have told how Maxwell facilitated their travel and taught them how to please the financier sexually.
When Epstein was arrested in Palm Beach in 2007, she stood by him, writing in a character statement that he’d helped her through the death of her father.