BRADFORD, New. Hampshire — Fifteen international flights in three years. More than a dozen bank accounts totaling $20 million. A 156-acre property in New England, paid for in cash.
These are — or were — the trappings of the extravagant lifestyle of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam, who was arrested by the FBI Thursday morning, charged with four counts of sexually trafficking minor girls and two counts of perjury.
The 58-year-old has been accused by many women of helping procure them and other underage sex partners for Epstein, who was found hanging by the neck in a jail cell in August 2019 after being arrested a month earlier on sex trafficking charges himself.
Since the late Epstein’s arrest last year, Maxwell, apparently loaded with money, moved frequently to avoid detection, according to a court filing.
Until a year or so ago, Maxwell had made frequent public appearances, the filing said. She had even done a “Ted Talk” lecture on environmental issues. Since Epstein’s arrest, she’s changed her primary phone number and email address and ordered delivery packages under other people’s names.
She’s become an international woman of mystery of sorts, and her whereabouts have been the subject of much interest and speculation.
Most recently, Maxwell was holed up in a massive property, in the tiny town of Bradford, New Hampshire, acquired for more than $1 million in December 2019 through a limited liability company called Granite Realty, LLC. The luxurious hideaway is where she was arrested Thursday morning.
Maxwell’s name didn’t appear on any of the documents connected to the purchase, according to someone with knowledge of the sale.
“Obviously whoever bought this property wanted privacy, and they got it,” the person said.
The woman who runs the local Bradford Inn said no one in the roughly 1,600-person rural community 30 miles east of the state capital, Concord, knew she was there.
“For this sort of town, it’s like ‘oh my gosh,'” Sally Caravan told the Miami Herald. “It is a close-knit community and usually people are aware if something’s up. So obviously, she must’ve done a good job.”
On Thursday, the property was secured by a locked gate about a quarter of a mile up the long driveway. Reporters staked out the entrance Thursday afternoon, some having been escorted from the property by a man open-carrying a pistol.
Vic Morris, who lives across the road, saw small, unmarked planes circling the property Thursday morning before he left for work.
“I thought they were doing a NASCAR up there,” Morris said.
Morris discovered later that day that Maxwell has been living at the property. Morris said he had never met Maxwell.
“I could have seen her at the Market Basket and I wouldn’t have known,” Morris said.
Several months ago he met a man who associated with the property, although Morris said he didn’t catch the man’s name. The man spoke with a British accent.
Morris and he met the English individual one winter morning when the man was plowing snow from the long driveway, across the road, and up onto Morris’ property.
“I could tell he was new at this,” Morris said.
Maxwell — born in France and raised in England — doesn’t appear to have any other connections to the area. She’s the daughter of former British media mogul Robert Maxwell, who died under mysterious circumstances in the early 1990s.
She became a U.S. citizen in 2002 and has passports for all three countries, the court filing says. Records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection show she traveled frequently over the past few years, including to the United Kingdom, Japan and Qatar.
The court filing also says Maxwell “appears to have significant financial resources that would enable her flight from prosecution.”
The government identified 15 different bank accounts held by or associated with her from 2016 to the present. During that same span, Maxwell transferred massive amounts of money between the accounts.
In March 2019, she shifted $500,000 from one account to another. Four months later, Maxwell made another transfer — this time $300,000, the filing says. She also reportedly controls at least one foreign bank account containing upward of $1 million.
In 2016, Maxwell “appears to have reaped substantial income” when she allegedly sold a New York City residence through a limited liability company for $15 million, the court filing says.
Around the day of the sale, $14 million was deposited into an account for which the socialite is listed as the owner, according to the filing. Days later, more than $14 million was transferred from that account into another one opened in Maxwell’s name.
“In short, the defendant’s financial resources appear to be substantial, and her numerous accounts and substantial money movements render her total financial picture opaque and indeterminate, even upon a review of bank records available to the Government,” the court filing says.
Maxwell has no children, doesn’t live with any immediate family members and doesn’t appear to have a job that would require her to stay in the United States, the court filing said. Furthermore, she doesn’t appear to have any permanent ties to the country.
Maxwell appeared by video conference U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea Johnstone in New Hampshire on Thursday and is being taken to New York, where she’ll face a hearing on the government’s request to deny her bail.
Maxwell’s lawyer, Larry Vogelman, declined to comment on the charges or the government’s request to deny her bail.
(c)2020 Miami Herald
Visit Miami Herald at www.miamiherald.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.