Despite the setback of his 13-month prison stint in 2008 for soliciting and procuring an underage prostitute, accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein didn't have any problem getting back on his feet. The New York Times reports that the disgraced financier began a new company in 2012 called Southern Trust, which gained over $200 million in revenue over the next five years.
According to the report, the company was comprised of a handful of employees that were developing a DNA data-mining service that would gauge customers' predisposition to cancer via the organization of mathematical algorithms. But when it comes to the finances, the sources remain unclear. The financial documents tied to the company do not reveal who was paying money into Epstein's venture or why his customers were seemingly fine with paying a man that moved from the financial services industry into DNA research.
As for why Epstein made the leap, he reportedly did so to dodge federal securities regulator registration. Southern Trust also received tax breaks, which are typically granted to companies that agree to commit to investing in an industry that bolsters the "well-being" of the local territory and adhere to minimum hiring requirements. In addition to Southern Trust, 71 companies currently receive such incentives.The source of Epstein's wealth continues to be a source of mystery. Podcaster and managing director of Thiel Capital Eric Weinstein addressed this mystery and suggested that the media focus on Epstein's sexual activities were shifting focus from the important narrative.
"It really feels to me like the pervert narrative is what brought an enormous covert structure into view and folks are treating it like the main story," he tweeted. "But it seems to me that a large infrastructure was fronted by a badly drawn Gatsby character with no plausible source of wealth."
Many believe that Epstein gained his wealth by operating his alleged sex trafficking ring, and some suggested that he blackmailed famous individuals via his clients. According to former Palm Beach County Deputy Sheriff John Mark Dougan, Epstein kept secret DVDs in his Manhattan townhome that investigators were unable to get their hands on. Dougan claims that Epstein was able to stay one step ahead of investigators and believes he had connections in the department to help him do so.
"It's not really a question of who would have had access. The question you should be asking is: Who had knowledge that the search was coming? And the answer to that is the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office."