1 of 2 | JPMorgan Chase on Tuesday agreed to pay $75 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands in a suit alleging the bank aided and benefitted from Jeffrey Epstein's human trafficking. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 26 (UPI) -- JPMorgan Chase on Tuesday reached a settlement with the U.S. Virgin Islands in a suit alleging the bank aided and benefitted from the illegal sex trafficking of underaged girls by late financier and banking customer Jeffrey Epstein.
U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Ariel Smith announced the $75 million settlement under which the bank also agreed to "implement and maintain meaningful anti-trafficking measures" to prevent future trafficking.
"This settlement is a historic victory for survivors and for state enforcement, and it should sound the alarm on Wall Street about responsibilities under the law to detect and prevent human trafficking," Smith said.
JPMorgan did not claim any wrongdoing in the settlement and will avoid a trial in the Virgin Islands.
Under the agreement, $55 million will be paid to Virgin Islands charities and anti-trafficking efforts while $20 million will pay for legal fees.
JPMorgan will also agree to inform law enforcement of customers involved in human trafficking and terminate their accounts if there is "credible information" that they are engaged in or facilitating human trafficking.
The bank also committed to further scrutinizing new accounts, training employees to identify, report and address evidence of human trafficking by customers, identifying and escalating clients associated with trafficking and facilitating escalation and remediation of issues if the bank becomes aware of human trafficking law violations.
"Our Department of Justice tirelessly pursued this enforcement action to make it substantially harder for traffickers to finance their crimes in the future, and we are confident this settlement will help achieve that goal," Smith said.
"We are proud to have stood alongside the survivors throughout this litigation, and this settlement reflects our continued commitment to them."
The settlement comes after depositions in the case revealed that JPMorgan Bank executives knew of Epstein's suspicious activity as early as 2006 but did not end their relationship with him until 2013.
Epstein, who often catered to the wealthy and powerful, committed suicide in federal prison in 2019 while awaiting a round of federal sex trafficking charges. Epstein owned a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands before his estate sold it after his death.
In 2021, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's girlfriend through much of the trafficking, was convicted in a federal trial for recruiting unwitting underage girls to be sexually abused by him. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison.