News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Sept. 29, 2023: In a historic development, the US Virgin Islands Department of Justice has secured a $75 million settlement with JPMorgan Chase to resolve a lawsuit alleging the bank’s involvement in facilitating and profiting from human trafficking. USVI’s Attorney General Ariel Smith made the announcement via a video message to the islanders.
Under the terms of the settlement, JPMorgan has committed to implementing and maintaining robust anti-trafficking measures aimed at preventing human trafficking in the future. This groundbreaking settlement not only serves as a victory for survivors but also sends a clear message to Wall Street regarding banks’ responsibilities in detecting and preventing human trafficking, according to Attorney General Smith.
The settlement effectively halts a trial that was scheduled to begin next month. Notably, this marks the first instance of a state attorney general utilizing the authority granted by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to hold a bank accountable for its role in human trafficking.
The US Virgin Islands had sought at least $190 million in penalties from JPMorgan Chase. A significant portion of the settlement funds will be directed towards supporting victims of human trafficking and other crimes in vulnerable communities, strengthening initiatives by the USVI Department of Justice to combat crime, and establishing a $10 million fund for providing mental health services to survivors of Jeffrey Epstein.
In addition to the financial aspect, JPMorgan Chase has committed to actively identifying, reporting, and discontinuing support for potential human trafficking activities.
The case against JPMorgan Chase stemmed from allegations that the bank facilitated and profited from the sex and human trafficking operations of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who owned an estate on the USVI where many of these illegal activities occurred.
This settlement follows JPMorgan’s agreement in June 2023 to pay $290 million in a class-action lawsuit involving victims of Epstein’s trafficking crimes. Furthermore, it was reported that JPMorgan reached a confidential legal settlement with James “Jes” Staley, the former top JPMorgan executive responsible for managing the Epstein account. The bank had sued Staley earlier in the year, alleging that he had concealed or downplayed Epstein’s wrongdoing to retain the lucrative account.