- Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of acting as his madam, had seemingly vanished — and may have popped up at a Los Angeles In-N-Out Burger on Thursday.
- Maxwell has faced heightened scrutiny after Epstein’s apparent suicide last Saturday, and federal prosecutors have said they’re still investigating charges that Epstein conspired to traffic minors.
- Rumors have swirled that Maxwell could be living as close as Massachusetts, or as far away as France, but instead she was photographed in LA.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When Jeffrey Epstein died by apparent suicide on Saturday, attention turned to one woman: Ghislaine Maxwell.
But Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime associate who’s been accused of acting as his madam, had reportedly not been seen in public in three years. And tracking her down mysteriously eluded both authorities and the media.
She was one of the central figures in the convicted sex offender’s inner circle, and women and girls have accused her of facilitating Epstein’s sexual abuse.
US Attorney Geoffrey Berman gave a nod to Epstein’s accusers in a statement following Epstein’s death in his Manhattan jail cell on Saturday, assuring victims that “our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing.”
The statement was widely interpreted as an acknowledgment that investigators are actively looking into those accused of helping Epstein traffic minors.
Where she is
On Wednesday, rumor had it that Maxwell was staying at a $3 million mansion in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. But its owner, the tech CEO Scott Borgerson, told Business Insider’s Paige Leskin that Maxwell wasn’t staying there.
He called Maxwell a “former friend” and did not clarify whether Maxwell had stayed at his home previously.
Also on Wednesday, the Daily Beast described unnamed friends of Maxwell’s as saying that she was lying low in France.
“She isn’t responding to even her closest friends’ calls,” one person told the publication.
Instead, Maxwell may be in Los Angeles. She was photographed at a local In-N-Out Burger restaurant, The New York Post reported Thursday.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 15, 2019
This isn’t the first time Maxwell has seemingly vanished without a trace.
The socialite used to live in a townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where she moved after her father’s 1991 death and rubbed elbows with some of New York City’s most prominent figures.
But in 2016, Maxwell’s townhouse was sold, and she vanished from the city’s party scene.
The next year, facing multiple lawsuits, Maxwell couldn’t be found when her lawyers represented her in court. Her lawyers told a judge that she was in London but that they didn’t know the address, according to The New York Times.
She likely has considerable assets at her disposal. A New York Post story from 2000 said she had a $100,000-a-year trust fund from her father.
How authorities might be tracking her
David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Florida, told INSIDER that authorities could leverage several tactics to keep track of Maxwell.
First, if Maxwell attempts to leave the United States, authorities would likely start working with Customs and Border Protection officials to find records of when she last entered or exited the country.
“If someone is checking in through a port of entry where you’re required to check in — meaning an airport or seaport — they’ve got records of it: when she came and when she went, when was her last entry, and when was her last exit,” Weinstein said.
Authorities could also work with foreign governments to track Maxwell’s entries and exits to different countries, provided those governments are willing to work with the US, Weinstein said.
A last resort could also be relying on Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, to hunt her down using a “red notice,” often used to arrest fugitives in foreign countries. That would likely come after prosecutors charged her with a crime; she has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing.