British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was described as an "extreme" flight risk Monday by federal prosecutors who advised a Southern District of New York judge to deny a proposed $5 million personal bond. File Photo by Rick Bajornas/ EPA-EFE
July 13 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors on Monday advised a New York judge to deny a $5 million personal recognizance bond proposed by lawyers of Ghislaine Maxwell, 58, saying the arrested British heiress and friend of late financier Jeffrey Epstein poses an "extreme risk of flight."
Prosecutors said Maxwell's French citizenship, plus millions of dollars in "dozens" of overseas bank accounts made it likely that Maxwell would try to escape to France where citizens are able to avoid extradition.
Maxwell is accused in the Southern District of New York of multiple counts of conspiring with Epstein to traffic minors over state lines and sexually abuse underage girls.
Prosecutors said Maxwell helped Epstein sexually exploit and abuse multiple minor girls as young as 14 years old from 1994 to 1997. She faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted. Maxwell's lawyers deny the charges.
Epstein, who was convicted of trafficking underage girls in Florida, was accused of procuring teen girls for sex with wealthy and powerful men in New York and on private estates in New Mexico and the Virgin Islands. Epstein killed himself in his New York federal detention center jail cell in August 2019 after pleading not guilty.
Monday's filing shed light on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's July 2 arrest of Maxwell in her $1 million secluded home on dozens of acres in New Hampshire, which Maxwell purchased under a corporate name designed to conceal her ownership.
According to the FBI, Maxwell's property was "barred by a locked gate," and guarded by private security guards "staffed with former members of the British military."
Maxwell was seen through a window fleeing the room when agents knocked on the door and then burst into the house, the filing said. On the table, agents found a cell phone altered to try to avoid police decryption.
"[Agents] noticed a cell phone wrapped in tin foil on top of a desk, a seemingly misguided effort to evade detection, not by the press or public, which of course would have no ability to trace her phone or intercept her communications, but by law enforcement," the filing said.
Maxwell is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.