A Riddle Wrapped in A Mystery Inside an Enigma

August 28, 2019

Millions of Americans who used to scoff at conspiracy theories (the moon landing was faked! Bigfoot is real!) have finally found one they can embrace. Autopsy results would have us believe the disgraced financier and pervert Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself in a Manhattan jail cell. But nobody’s buying what the medical examiner is selling. Is Epstein really dead, or is he laying low on some extradition-proof island in the sun? And if he is dead, who murdered him? (No way was it suicide.) Was it the Clintons? Trump? Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick?

Epstein masqueraded as a Wall Street genius, a guy who would turn up his nose at your $700 million because you weren’t a billionaire, too. The truth will probably turn out to be a lot sleazier. Real Wall Streeters are divided over how Epstein made his money. Was he blackmailing fellow perverts into handing over their accounts to manage? Was he laundering somebody else’s money? Maybe he was running a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme? With Epstein now gone one way or the other, we may never know the truth.

Our friends at the IRS don’t care how Epstein made his money. They just want to know if he paid his taxes. (And really, does he sound like the kind of guy who did?) Auditors will have plenty of places to look for clues. They’ll be scouring the FinCEN database for Suspicious Activity Reports, digging through Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act filings, and looking for Currency Transaction Reports to understand the “piles of cash” that FBI agents found in his safe. Someone’s getting a trip to the Cayman Islands, and they won’t need to pack a swimsuit.

Uncle Sam will be happy to take 37% of any income Epstein didn’t report in life. But the real payoff could come with his estate, depending on who gets whatever’s left after the prosecutors and victims lined up to sue him get their due. Epstein had no wife or children to inherit his loot. He might have left it all to one of the charities he made a show of supporting. If there’s no will, though, his assets would likely pass to his younger brother Mark — in which case the IRS will get 40% of anything over $11.4 million.

What, exactly, will the IRS and the victims’ attorneys have to target? That’s another mystery. Epstein’s attorneys told the judge who slapped down his bail request that he owned $376 million in cash and financial assets. He also owned the Beaux Arts mansion in New York, the Regency-style villa in Palm Beach, the Avenue Foch apartment in Paris, the “Zorro Ranch” in New Mexico, two private islands (because why not), and the “Lolita Express” jets he used to fly his famous friends.

There are also tangible assets that will be harder to appraise, especially considering Epstein’s creepy mad scientist aesthetic. How do you value a painting of Bill Clinton wearing a blue dress and red heels? What about the collection of framed eyeballs lining the front hall of his New York home? What about the dentist chair in the bathroom of the Palm Beach house? What surprises might be lurking inside the mysterious “temple” he built overlooking the waters surrounding “Pedophile Island”?

We usually wrap up these stories by telling you to call us to avoid whatever tax disasters our subjects have suffered. But we’ve gotta confess, we’re out of our league here. If you’re looking to fake your death in prison, you’ll have to call someone else. So think about this, instead. Epstein “died” on 8/10/19. The numbers 8 + 10 + 19 add up to 37. There are 7 letters in “Epstein.” 37 + 7 = 44. And there you have it. Epstein’s killer was obviously . . . 44th President Barack Obama!

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