Epstein Had a Creepy Panopticon Room to Monitor All His Guests

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein hired men to monitor what was happening in his New York mansion from a CCTV control room and provided his victims with car services and cellphones so he could track their movements, according to a new lawsuit filed by two accusers in Manhattan federal court.

To ensure the women’s silence, Epstein and his enablers also gathered dirt to use against them and threatened anyone who might cooperate with police. And they paid the victims hundreds of dollars in “hush money” after the perverted financier abused them or they recruited other young women and girls into the scheme.

All of this would not be possible, the lawsuit says, without Epstein’s right-hand men: his longtime personal lawyer Darren Indyke and accountant Richard Kahn, who’ve long denied any wrongdoing in connection with their former boss.

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Danielle Bensky and another victim referred to as Jane Doe 3 are suing Indyke and Kahn, accusing them of advancing the late sex offender’s “cult-like” trafficking network for more than a decade. Indyke joined Epstein’s inner circle in 1995 while Kahn arrived around 2005, the complaint says.

“The Epstein Enterprise would not have existed for the duration it did and at its scope and scale, without the collaboration and support of others,” the legal filing states. “No one, except perhaps Ghislaine Maxwell, was as essential and central to Epstein’s operation as these Defendants.” (Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend, is serving prison time after a jury convicted her of child sex trafficking in December 2021.)

The lawsuit seeks class action status and comes on the heels of two multimillion-dollar settlements from JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank, which victims sued in late 2022 for providing the financial mechanisms for Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring.

As The Daily Beast reported, Kahn and Indyke served as co-executors of Epstein’s estate and have shunned interviews with the press, keeping a low profile and avoiding social media. In 2020, one source told us that Indyke “was plucked out of obscurity by Epstein” and “If he had a life outside of Epstein, it was a very private life.”

Meanwhile, another insider connected to Kahn claimed: “Richard worked out of the office. Did Epstein appear at those offices? Yes. Did Richard see any of the activities that were the focus of press attention? No.”

But the new lawsuit says Indyke and Kahn were “well aware” of Epstein’s predations and accuses them of “aiding, abetting, and facilitating” his battery and obstructing the government’s enforcement of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

“Knowing that they would earn millions of dollars in exchange for facilitating Epstein’s sex abuse and trafficking, Indyke and Kahn chose money and power over following the law,” the complaint alleges.

It adds that the men “intentionally concealed the extent of their personal involvement in the sex-trafficking venture including specific false denials of their role in the Epstein Enterprise, making themselves out to be mere outside advisors to Epstein.”

The lawsuit sheds light on two more victims—and the inner workings of the trafficking operation. “Epstein and his lawyers would gather information about the girls to use against them if they ever disobeyed him,” the complaint says. “His homes were also under constant surveillance, and his New York mansion had a room in which men that Epstein hired monitored what was happening in the home.”

Over the years, victims including Maria Farmer and Jennifer Araoz have spoken out about Epstein’s surveillance system, with Araoz describing it in a lawsuit: “Inside the front door, there were many security cameras pointing in all directions. On little TVs, Ms. Araoz could actually see herself on the camera walking inside.”

Bensky was an aspiring dancer in 2004 when a woman recruited her to give Epstein a massage for $300 and his enablers encouraged her to return to his New York home. “Having been in awe of Epstein’s mansion and Epstein’s wealth and power, Bensky was terrified of what would happen to her if she refused,” the complaint says.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in New York

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in New York

Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Epstein bragged about his connections to powerful people, on one occasion telling her he was on the phone with actor Kevin Spacey. “Epstein also told Bensky that he had friends in high places, but he ‘knew how they liked to party’ so they would never betray him,” the lawsuit alleges. (In 2002, Spacey flew on Epstein’s plane with former President Bill Clinton, actor Chris Tucker, and others in Epstein’s orbit for a humanitarian trip to Africa.)

Jane Doe 3, a citizen of the European Union who used a pseudonym for her safety, alleges Epstein flew her to New York and kept her at one of his apartments at 301 East 66th Street. “In 2014, Epstein lured Jane Doe 3 to travel with him to several locations where either he or Ghislaine Maxwell had homes,” the complaint states.

David Boies, the victims’ attorney, said: “As detailed in the Complaint, Defendants Indyke and Kahn received millions of dollars from Epstein and his entities.”

“In exchange, they provided the cash necessary to make Epstein’s sex trafficking work, hid what was going on behind a maze of corporate shells, structured Epstein’s financial transactions to conceal their real purpose, and arranged sham same sex marriages to fraudulently provide a basis for keeping victims from Europe in this country.”

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For their part, Indyke and Kahn say they were “extraordinarily surprised and disappointed by last week’s filing by the Boies Schiller firm.”

“Neither Mr. Indyke or Mr. Kahn has ever been found in any forum to have committed any misconduct, and they emphatically reject the allegations of wrongdoing contained in the complaint,” their lawyer, Daniel Weiner, said in a statement.

Weiner added that it was Indyke and Kahn who “established the first-ever victim compensation program by an estate—a widely acclaimed procedure through which the Estate paid out more than $121 million to 135 women—and resolved claims on behalf of the Estate brought by 50 other women who either did not participate in that compensation program or sought more than they were awarded.”

According to the lawsuit, Indyke and Kahn helped to set up Epstein’s “complex financial infrastructure,” which included dozens of bank accounts across multiple banks and which were linked to “corporate entities with no legitimate business purpose.” They also played a role in creating and managing some of Epstein’s “sham entities,” which include his purported nonprofits the C.O.U.Q. Foundation and Gratitude America Ltd.

The men ensured Epstein’s access to cash, personally withdrawing or arranging the withdrawal of thousands of dollars at a time several times a month in a way that avoided banks running due diligence reports and detection by law enforcement, the legal filing alleges.

They “had power of attorney or signatory authority over virtually all of the accounts held by Epstein,” the lawsuit says, “which allowed them to personally authorize and sign off on payments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Epstein’s victims, including but not limited to recruiting compensation, legal fees, apartment rent, and tuition.”

One account, on which Indyke was a signatory, paid over $2.5 million to “dozens of women with Eastern European surnames” and an immigration lawyer who allegedly helped Epstein to arrange “forced marriages” to keep immigrant victims in the country.

In the case of one "arranged marriage,” Indyke allegedly worked with an immigration lawyer to prep the victim for contact with U.S. immigration officials, and Kahn is accused of providing a letter of reference for the immigration matter. “When the victim inquired about getting divorced and leaving Epstein, Indyke tried to talk her out of a divorce and threatened that she would lose Epstein’s protection,” the suit alleges.

Indyke and Kahn were “richly compensated” for their loyalty, and Epstein paid for the former to attend law school and obtain a license, the complaint says.

Weiner, the co-executor’s lawyer, said that all women who received compensation from Epstein’s estate—including one of the plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit—released the estate and others including Indyke and Kahn from any and all future claims.

“David Boies himself negotiated the terms of that release, and specifically agreed on the unassailable legal protection it affords the Co-Executors,” Weiner said. “These newly-filed claims are factually baseless and legally frivolous.”

The co-executors, Weiner added, would seek sanctions against Boies, his firm, and his law partner Sigrid McCawley, who “personally co-signed the release executed by Ms. Bensky, the lead plaintiff in this action.”

In a statement, Boies and McCawley cast doubt on their claims of being blindsided by the suit: “They were told repeatedly that they would be sued if they refused Plaintiffs’ offer of mediation.”

“If there was any surprise or disappointment it was only that they were finally being held to account for their crimes after avoiding it for so long,” they said, adding that “any release of Defendants procured through their control of Epstein’s Estate would be invalid under New York law, including as procured by fraud and duress.”

The lawyers also took aim at the sanctions warning.

“Threats and intimidation may have been an effective tool for silencing vulnerable young girls alone and without anyone to represent or support them,” they continued. “That time has past.”

Bensky and Jane Doe aren’t the only ones pursuing justice years after Epstein’s 2019 death. Last week, 12 accusers sued the FBI in Manhattan federal court for failing to properly investigate Epstein as early as the 1990s.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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