Millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, the center of Netflix’s documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, led a mysterious and yet completely public life. The native New Yorker, who was 66 when he died in 2019, kept details of his private life private but ran in high-profile social circles — which is where he allegedly brought many underage girls over the years as part of an elaborate sex-trafficking ring.
His survivors are telling their own version of events in the Netflix documentary, which is weaved in with a more detailed look at Epstein’s rise to millionaire status and the various crimes of which he’s been accused. For more background on Epstein and some of the key events referenced in the documentary, keep reading. And you can stream the documentary on Netflix starting May 27.
- 1974 — Epstein starts teaching at Dalton in NY: Epstein, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, got a job teaching at Dalton, a prestigious school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. While there, he tutored the son of Ace Greenberg, Bear Stearns chairman.
- 1976 — Epstein works at Bear Stearns and becomes limited partner: Bear Stearns, a global investment bank, securities trading, and brokerage firm, was Epstein’s employer after Dalton. Epstein started as a trader and rose to limited partner, which is just below full partner, with the help of Greenberg and CEO at the time James Cayne.
- 1981 — Epstein leaves Bear Stearns: According to former co-workers, Epstein left Bear Stearns abruptly in 1981 because he wanted to start his own company. Years later, Epstein told the SEC a different story about his departure.
- 1981 — Epstein founds Intercontinental Assets Group Inc.: Epstein did end up creating his own company in the 1980s, an advisory firm called Intercontinental Assets Group Inc. He ran the company out of his New York apartment on East 66th Street, according to The New York Times.
- 1980s — Epstein meets Steven Jude Hoffenberg: In 1987, Epstein began consulting for Hoffenberg, who was the chairman of Towers Financial Corporation, a debt collection agency. According to Vanity Fair, however, “Hoffenberg began using company funds to pay off earlier investors and service a lavish lifestyle that included a mansion on Long Island, homes on Manhattan’s Sutton Place and in Florida, and a fleet of cars and planes.” Hoffenberg would later be convicted of running a Ponzi scheme and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- Late 1980s — Epstein meets Leslie Wexner: Sometime in the late 1980s, Epstein linked up with Wexner, the founder of L Brands, which includes Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works. The two quickly became close and Wexner handed over a large amount of financial control to Epstein. A source told Vanity Fair in 2003: “Wexner trusts Epstein so completely that he has assigned him the power of fiduciary over all of his private trusts and foundations.”
- 1989 — Epstein gives deposition on leaving Bear Stearns: A tip suggesting a case of insider trading led to an SEC investigation of Bear Stearns. According to Vanity Fair, Epstein told the SEC he left Bear Stearns because he didn’t like the way the firm withheld his promotion to partner after finding out he had loaned money to a friend to buy stock.
- 1991 — Hoffenberg is sued: After Epstein orchestrated massive schemes to manipulate stocks, Hoffenberg took the fall and was sued in 1991. Because Epstein was only a consultant at his company, he faced no charges.
- Early 1990s — Epstein meets Ghislaine Maxwell: Epstein met British socialite Maxwell, who would later be accused of facilitating Epstein’s sex-trafficking of underage girls, in the early 1990s. The two dated for awhile, and she remained loyal to him for about 20 years through multiple lawsuits.
- 2003 — Vanity Fair publishes lengthy profile but leaves out assault allegations: Journalist Vicky Ward wrote a profile on Epstein for Vanity Fair describing his personal life and going into great detail about his financial manipulation. Ward said years later that she wanted to expose Epstein’s sexual assault allegations in greater detail, as she had multiple accusers on record, but the magazine blocked her from doing so. Former editor in chief Graydon Carter told The New York Times that that was inaccurate.
- 2005 — Epstein is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old: A stepmom overheard her 14-year-old stepdaughter telling a friend that she’d had sex with an older man for money. This was the first of many accusations against Epstein relating to sexual assault with minors.
- May 2006 — Epstein is charged with unlawful sex acts: The first charges are brought against Epstein for multiple counts of unlawful sex acts with a minor. The case was taken to a grand jury.
- Summer 2006 — Grand jury in Palm Beach, FL, only hears from one accuser: Despite there being multiple accusers in Epstein’s case, the grand jury only heard one and then returned a verdict of one count of solicitation of prostitution, according to CBS. The FBI opened an investigation of its own after accusations tied Epstein to more locations than just Florida.
- 2008 — Epstein serves 13 months in jail: After being sentenced to 18 months, Epstein only served 13 and subsequently registered as a sex offender. ABC News reported that Epstein struck a deal to avoid harsh prosecution. His ties to high-profile people, including former president Bill Clinton and current president Links”>Donald Trump, were called into question. “After an extensive investigation by the Palm Beach police and the FBI, the Justice Department effectively immunized Epstein for multiple alleged offenses involving underage girls in exchange for his guilty pleas to two comparatively minor sex crimes in Florida state court,” according to a 2016 news story. Epstein’s lawyers asked the federal government to keep the terms of the deal a secret, and many of the details were not known until years later.
- 2015 — Virginia Roberts files a lawsuit against Epstein: Roberts, later known as Virginia Giuffre, filed a claim saying Epstein forced her to have sex with his high-profile friends, including Prince Andrew, when she was just 16. She also accused Maxwell of coordinating the sexual relations. A judge threw out her claim but a new lawsuit opened in 2017 was settled out of court.
- December 2018 — Attorney Bradley Edwards sues Epstein for defamation: Attorney Edwards, who represented Epstein’s accusers in the case a decade earlier — when he avoided prosecution — sued Epstein for defamation. The case was settled out of court.
- February 2019 — Judge rules in favor of Epstein’s victims: US District Court Judge Kenneth Marra ruled in favor of several of Epstein’s past accusers who were failed by the system in the 2007 case.
- July 2019 — Epstein is arrested: Epstein was arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on charges of sexual abuse and sexual trafficking.
- August 2019 — Epstein is found dead in his jail cell: Epstein was found hanging in his jail cell on Aug. 10, 2019. The details surrounding his death have been greatly debated, as his own attorneys believe foul play was involved and that it wasn’t a suicide at all. It is still under investigation.
Image Source: Getty / Rick Friedman / Patrick McMullan