Ghislaine Maxwell, the onetime girlfriend and alleged accomplice of accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested Thursday morning and charged by federal prosecutors in New York for her alleged role in recruiting, grooming and sexually abusing underage girls as young as 14 as part of a years-long criminal enterprise.
Maxwell, 58, whose whereabouts were being tracked by federal agents, was taken into custody in New Hampshire without incident and charged with six criminal counts. The charges include enticement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury, according to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday.
Between 1994 and 1997, according to the indictment, “Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18.
“Maxwell and deceased multimillionaire Epstein are accused of luring the girls to an array of residences, including his Upper East Side mansion, his Palm Beach estate, and his sprawling Santa Fe ranch, as well as London, England, where she has a home.
Maxwell was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire, nearly a year after federal authorities in New York arrested Epstein as he returned to the United States on a private jet from Paris.
During a teleconference appearance in New Hampshire federal court, Maxwell waived her right to a detention hearing. The judge ordered her remanded to the custody of the US Marshals Service and said she will be transferred to New York for a detention hearing there.An attorney for Maxwell, Lawrence Vogelman, declined to comment Thursday. Maxwell has previously denied wrongdoing, and in a deposition has called at least one of her accusers “a liar.”
She faces as many as 35 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charges. Though Maxwell’s whereabouts had been unclear—and the source of much speculation since Epstein’s arrest last summer—FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney said during a news conference Thursday that authorities have “been discreetly keeping tabs” on her, adding that they pounced when they learned recently that she “slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire.”
\The indictment was filed under seal on June 29 .In court documents asking a judge to order that Maxwell be detained pending trial, prosecutors said she had been “hiding out” in various locations around New England for the past year, changing her phone number and email address, and ordering packages under a different name to avoid detection. Prosecutors identified 15 different bank accounts associated with Maxwell that at times held as much as $20 million.