Judge warns JPMorgan Chase of contempt finding for slow-walking evidence in Jeffrey Epstein case
In a ruling that could have significant repercussions for JPMorgan Chase, a federal judge has warned the bank that it could face contempt charges for delaying the handover of documents related to its dealings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The ruling, issued by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, comes in response to a lawsuit brought by two of Epstein’s victims, who are seeking to hold JPMorgan Chase accountable for its role in helping to finance Epstein’s activities.
According to the plaintiffs, the bank knowingly allowed Epstein to use his accounts to transfer money to young women, many of whom were minors, in violation of anti-money laundering laws.
In her ruling, Preska said that the bank’s tactics had been “egregious,” and warned that if JPMorgan Chase did not produce the evidence in a timely manner, it could face sanctions, including fines and penalties.
The judge also expressed frustration with the bank’s attorneys, who she said had made “excuse after excuse” for why they had not handed over the documents.
“Enough is enough,” Preska wrote. “This court will not tolerate further delay or distraction from JPMorgan.”
The ruling is the latest development in an ongoing legal battle between JPMorgan Chase and Epstein’s victims, who have accused the bank of enabling the financier’s crimes by turning a blind eye to his activities.
JPMorgan Chase has denied any wrongdoing in the case, saying that it had no knowledge of Epstein’s criminal behavior and that it had cooperated fully with law enforcement officials.
However, the bank has been under investigation by multiple federal agencies for its role in providing financial services to Epstein, and has already paid millions of dollars in fines and settlements related to the case.
The bank’s involvement with Epstein dates back to the early 2000s, when he first opened accounts with the firm. Over the years, Epstein used his accounts to transfer millions of dollars to various individuals and entities, including several who were later accused of being involved in his criminal activities.
Despite numerous red flags, including large cash withdrawals and questionable transactions, JPMorgan Chase continued to do business with Epstein, and even helped to structure loans to him that allowed him to keep his finances private.
The bank’s relationship with Epstein has come under renewed scrutiny in recent years following the financier’s death in prison in 2019. Since then, numerous civil lawsuits have been filed against the bank by Epstein’s victims, who allege that it was complicit in his crimes.
The case has also raised broader questions about the role of banks in enabling criminal activities, and has prompted calls for stronger anti-money laundering regulations and more aggressive enforcement by law enforcement agencies.
As the legal battle between JPMorgan Chase and Epstein’s victims continues to play out in court, it is clear that the bank’s actions will remain under intense scrutiny. And with the threat of contempt charges looming, it is likely that the bank will face increasing pressure to produce the evidence that has been requested.