'Jeffrey Epstein & Prince Andrew: The True Story': Ponzi scheme made Epstein billionaire and jailed associate

Steven Jude Hoffenberg, one of the very first business associates of Epstein claims that he not only got away with his 2006 Florida arrest thanks to the infamous sweetheart deal but also walked away unscathed from financial crimes. Hoffenberg spent 18 years in federal prison after being found guilty


                            'Jeffrey Epstein & Prince Andrew: The True Story': Ponzi scheme made Epstein billionaire and jailed associate
Steven Jude Hoffenberg, Jeffrey Epstein (Getty Images)

Jeffrey Epstein made his billions through an illegal Ponzi scheme, an ex-associate of his has revealed in a new documentary. Steven Jude Hoffenberg, one of the very first business associates of Epstein, claims that he not only got away with his 2006 Florida arrest — thanks to the infamous sweetheart deal — but also walked away unscathed from financial crimes.

"There is no excuse I can render today but be repentant and to tell the truth so the truth can set me free," Hoffenberg said on Reelz's 'Jeffrey Epstein & Prince Andrew: The True Story'.

He claimed that the two had been involved in a Ponzi scheme that they ran out of offices on Fifth Avenue in the 1980s through a company named Financial Trust Co. It was co-founded by Epstein and him and they were partners. 

"Epstein had a very strong dream and Epstein increased that Ponzi scheme to about a billion dollars," said Hoffenberg. "In 1994, I was charged and arrested and he walked away without a scratch," he added. By 1996, Epstein had already moved on. He was living in one of the largest homes in Manhattan, climbing up the ladder of luxury. Hoffenberg spent 18 years in federal prison after being found guilty of the scheme. 

Businessman Steven Hoffenberg attends the Screening of the HBO Original Movie "Barbarians at the Gate" on March 15, 1993 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. (Getty Images)

Epstein acquired a lot of wealth during his lifetime and lived a life of opulence - he was known to throw lavish parties for his rich and powerful friends, scientists and businessmen alike. Apart from his Manhattan home, Zorro Ranch in New Mexico, a Palm Beach mansion and an apartment in Avenue Foch, Paris, he also owned a private island in the Virgin Islands and had a private jet to take his guests back and forth. He also received a Beaux-Arts mansion in New York from his longtime client and Victoria's Secret founder, Les Wexner. 

Although Epstein was widely called a billionaire, he has never appeared on the Forbes list as he had no proof of his wealth. He has also never been included on The Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans. 

'Jeffrey Epstein & Prince Andrew: The True Story' gets its U.S. Premiere on Saturday, January 25, at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.

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