WEST PALM BEACH (CN) – A Palm Beach billionaire convicted of soliciting sex from minors has sued alleged Ponzi scheme operator Scott Rothstein, a disbarred attorney, claiming Rothstein used the sexual indiscretions as a springboard to pursue frivolous molestation suits. Plaintiff Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy money manager disgraced in an underage prostitution scandal, says Rothstein tried to capitalize on the conviction by encouraging clients to fabricate allegations of sexual assault.
Rothstein was arrested in November in connection with an alleged $1.2 billion investment scam. He had been telling investors they could make huge profits by contributing to a fund that bought structured settlement receivables, FBI investigators say.
According to the FBI, Rothstein told the duped investors that his clients wanted their lawsuit settlement cash right away and were willing to sell him the right to receive the structured payments in exchange for a discounted lump sum.
But Rothstein was lying all the while, the FBI says. Investigators say Rothstein never organized the purchase of the receivables, and that many of the settlements he advertised were fake.
Rothstein went so far as to show investors bogus court documents to lure them into the scheme, investigators say.
Among the allegedly phony settlements was a $200 million payout that Rothstein claimed Epstein had arranged for more than 50 victims of sexual assaults and molestation.
In his complaint in Palm Beach County Court, Epstein says that “settlement” was one of Rothstein’s concoctions. Rothstein was simply trying to cash in on the publicity surrounding the solicitation investigation, Epstein says.
Epstein claims that Rothstein lined up a slew of frivolous sexual assault and molestation lawsuits for clients who Epstein says were willing sex workers.
Bradley Edwards, an attorney at Rothstein’s firm and a defendant in Epstein’s complaint, forwarded particularly reckless allegations, Epstein says.
“The evidence is really going to show [that] Epstein … has, every single day of his life, made an attempt to sexually abuse children. We’re not talking about five. We’re not talking about 20. We’re not talking about 400, which I believe is the number known to law enforcement. We’re talking about thousands of children,” Edwards allegedly said in a court proceeding cited in Epstein’s complaint.
These assertions are absurd, Epstein says.
The Palm Beach Police Department’s investigation of Epstein may complicate his case, however.
The police investigation alleges that in 2003, Epstein enlisted a 17-year-old girl to recruit high school classmates to visit him for “massages” at his Palm Beach mansion. Epstein paid the girls $200 to $300 per visit to strip down and massage him while he pleasured himself. The lid was blown off when the youngest of the girls, then 14, told her parents about the escapades.
Epstein’s recruiter and the girls have acknowledged that they knew what to expect, detectives say. According to the investigation, the 17-year-old explained to the girls what would happen in Epstein’s massage room, according to the police report.
Epstein cut a deal with federal agents to plead guilty to procuring minors for prostitution.
When the scandal was publicized, hordes of young women came out of the woodwork accusing Epstein of sexual battery. Many of the resultant cases were dismissed, including that of transgendered model Maximilia Cordero.
Epstein claims that Rothstein’s clients in the cases against him included a self-described prostitute who changed her story repeatedly.
In an early interview with FBI agents, cited in Epstein’s complaint, the prostitute, who admitted to having frequently brought young women to Epstein’s house for sex work, claimed, “Every girl that I brought to Jeffrey … said they were fine with it. … A lot of girls begged me to bring them back for the money, and as far as I know, we all had fun there.”
But Epstein says that after Rothstein recruited her as a client in a sexual assault suit, the prostitute reversed her tone. “Once [the girls] were [at Epstein’s house], they were scared out of their minds. They did it anyways, and some of them walked out and said, ‘Don’t ever do this to me again,'” the woman stated in a deposition.
Epstein demands damages from Rothstein for conspiracy and abuse of process. His lead attorney is Robert Critton Jr.