Steven Hoffenberg, Jeffrey Epstein’s Ponzi Schemer Pal, Found Dead In Connecticut Home After a Welfare Check

Steven Hoffenberg, a convict The Ponzi Conspirator and one-time Wall Street mentor to multi-millionaire sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, was found dead in his Connecticut apartment this week after an Epstein abuse survivor was found dead. Call the local police to check the welfare.

Maria Farmer called Derby police to check on Hoffenberg, 77, after she failed to reach him by phone. The two have been friends for many years and talk almost every day. Farmer told The Daily Beast on Wednesday: “He’s family to me. “I love him.”

In Hoffenberg, Farmer saw a nice guy turn into another guy who had a crush on Epstein. He is a man who has lost his wealth and is estranged from most of his family after his criminal case. In prison, he becomes a born-again Christian. Farmer says that in recent years he has been one of the few people to support her in the period of cancer The treatments. Now it appears he died alone in his modest apartment not long after contracting COVID.

On Thursday, Derby Police Lieutenant Justin Stanko told The Daily Beast that authorities believe a man discovered at 8:08 p.m. Tuesday is likely Hoffenberg but they are waiting for an examiner. medical identification. “Every piece of evidence, his lease, his paperwork, his driver’s license… points to the fact that it was Mr. Hoffenberg,” Stanko said.

Entrepreneur Steven Hoffenberg in 1993.

Ron Galella

Stanko said that the preliminary autopsy showed no signs of foul play or trauma and that police believe Hoffenberg, who was found on the floor of his bedroom, died of natural causes.

Hoffenberg’s estranged daughter, who requested anonymity, told The Daily Beast he was not an active part of her life. They met several times after he was released from prison.

“He spent 20 years in prison,” she said. “I grew up with a wonderful single mother and have never benefited financially from any of his businesses. I had a very good life. He is not a fixture. “

Hoffenberg’s other relatives could not be contacted.

Farmer said Hoffenberg was in financial difficulty but did not accept help. She fears his cognitive decline and invites him to move in with her so she can take care of him. “He would never let me do anything for him,” Farmer said. “He just wanted to do it for other people. He said, ‘Maria, I will spend the rest of my life on this earth helping people.’

Hoffenberg told Farmer he felt ashamed for trusting Epstein and bringing him under his wing in the late ’80s, after the financier left Bear Stearns. (Epstein testified that his departure from the global investment bank following a “regulatory breach”; he lent money to a friend to buy stocks.)

“The world has lost a true gentleman with one of the kindest hearts and one of the most loving souls I have ever met. He is very loyal. He was always there,” Farmer said of Hoffenberg.

However, financiers do not always have a brilliant reputation.

In 1995, Hoffenberg pleaded guilty to fraud and obstruction of justice in connection with his $460 million Ponzi scheme, when it was one of the largest schemes in history.

Hoffenberg was a cartoonish and sly character who made headlines in 1993 as a potential buyer of the ailment. New York Post—A settlement was settled when the SEC sued him, claiming that his debt collection firm Towers Financial Corporation overstated income and assets. In 1994, Manhattan federal prosecutors charged him with falsifying Towers records in order to offer higher returns to investors who purchased the company’s securities. Prosecutors said Hoffenberg used the millions of dollars he collected to pay off debts and finance his lavish lifestyle.

In 1997, Manhattan federal judge Robert Sweet sentenced Hoffenberg to 20 years in prison for defrauding thousands of investors into his debt collection agency. (Before he died in 2019, Sweet will preside over Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s lawsuit against sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell’s accomplice.)

Sweet also asked Hoffenberg to pay a $1 million fine and $460 million in damages that he stole. Back then, New York Times report, “In fact, the money is gone, and the guys he scammed got back less than a cent for every dollar they lost.” His sentence was longer than recommended by federal guidelines, in part because letters from victims detailed how they had lost their life savings, retirement money and other funds. for health care and education.

One victim wrote: “I am a 69-year-old woman who has been a teacher in Texas public schools for most of her life. “I invested almost all of my life savings, $112,000. . . . Mr. Hoffenberg took from me what should have been a good retirement income. So as a result I have gone back to teaching and will probably have to do so for as long as I can.”

When Vanity Fair wrote a profile of Epstein in 2003, two years before Palm Beach police began investigating him for molesting underage girls, Hoffenberg’s name surfaced in connection with the secretive financier. Hide and his work for Towers. According to reports, Hoffenberg hired Epstein as a consultant and paid him $25,000 a month.

Three years after his release from prison in 2013, Hoffenberg sued Epstein, blaming him for fraud and arguing that he should help repay the thousands of fraud victims.

Before his death, the Brooklyn native regularly commented to the press about Epstein and accused the financier of being an “accomplice” in his Ponzi scheme. In an affidavit in 2019Hoffenberg stated, “Epstein remains free and has used and benefited from the ill-gotten gains he amassed as a result of his criminal and fraudulent activities.”

“He was my best friend for many years. My best friend for many years, “Hoffenberg” told CBS News of Epstein in 2019. “We run a group of Wall Street people who invest these billions of dollars in illicit capital. He’s my man, my sidekick.”

Hoffenberg is also active on Twitter, where his bio still says “NEW YORK POST CEO (FORMER), MEDIA, HOFFENBERG KNOW EPSTEIN FOR FIVE YEARS, questions about Epstein,” before listing his email address. that.

He regularly posts stories related to the Epstein case and supports Farmer. He also posted tweets accusing Epstein and Maxwell of spies. (Neither Maxwell nor Epstein appear to have commented on these foreign intelligence claims.)

Last summer, Hoffenberg suggested Rolling Stone that Epstein “turned into intelligence” and worked on projects with Robert, Maxwell’s media mogul father, on his debts.

Hoffenberg swore to the press to help the victims of his Ponzi scheme to recoup their losses by suing Epstein. He said NPR in 2019, “I was the first to support the victims. At the age of 74, I want to go to the gem gates to support the victims. “

While some were displeased by Hoffenberg’s public comments, Farmer was not.

Farmer said she tried to report Epstein’s sexual abuse case to the FBI in the mid-90s and asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office to hold him accountable years before her arrest in 2019. From her perspective, United States Attorney Manhattan made Hoffenberg the scapegoat for a crime she believes was masterminded by Epstein.

“I became his family and he became mine,” Farmer said of Hoffenberg. “Believe me, he has a lot of people who love him.”

“It wasn’t someone in his family who asked the police to arrest him. I was the one who noticed he was gone.”

Donald Trump and then-girlfriend Melania Knauss, financier (and future convicted sex offender) Jeffrey Epstein, and Ghislaine Maxwell on British social media in 2000.

Davidoff Studios Photography

According to Farmer and her friend, Michael Balcom, Derby police were initially reluctant to check on Hoffenberg when Farmer called them on Saturday. “They said, ‘We’re not doing a wild goose chase,'” Farmer said, adding that the officer she spoke to was recounting information about Hoffenberg that appeared to be from Wikipedia. “This cop started laughing and saying all sorts of horrible things about Hoff.”

Balcom, a former law enforcement officer, later called the police on Farmer’s behalf when she received no answer. He told The Daily Beast that he gave police Hoffenberg’s address on Sunday but had not heard back. He said that when he called the department back on Tuesday and warned he would check on Hoffenberg himself, another officer agreed to visit the home. Officers found Hoffenberg dead at his residence.

But Stanko said that police responded to Farmers’ welfare checks but the address they initially received was incorrect. “Someone claiming to be a victim of Jeffrey Epstein was the one who made the first call,” he said. “She called as a friend of Mr Hoffenberg and said she had not heard from him for several days. She is from abroad. “

A few days later, Stanko added, a friend of the “original caller” provided a second address.

“You can’t make everyone happy,” he said when asked about Farmer’s complaints that it took police days to find Hoffenberg. “The staff responded, contacted the landlord, tried to make a tarpaulin. Nobody knows anything.”

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