Ghislaine Maxwell posed as journalist called Janet Marshall to buy luxury hideout, prosecutors say

James Crump
The property where Ghislaine Maxwell, former associate of late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation: (Reuters)
The property where Ghislaine Maxwell, former associate of late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation: (Reuters)

Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly posed as a British journalist to secretly buy the luxury mansion where she was arrested earlier this month.

The 58-year-old is currently being held at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn facing charges of trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse of minors, following her arrest on 2 July.

The British socialite has been accused of luring and grooming underage girls, so her former boyfriend and business associate, Jeffrey Epstein, could abuse them.

Maxwell was arrested at a property called Tuckedaway, in Bradford, New Hampshire, after she had reportedly spent the last year moving three times a month to avoid detection, following Epstein’s arrest and subsequent death in prison on 10 August 2019.

Prosecutor Alison Moe of the Southern District of New York (SNDY), told the court on Tuesday that Maxwell bought the property while pretending to be a British journalist called Janet Marshall, according to Metro.

Ms Moe added that she viewed the property with a British man, who called himself Scott Marshall and claimed to be an ex-soldier working on a book, according to the New York Post.

While at the property, the couple told the estate agent that they wanted to purchase it quickly with a wire transfer and said that they were setting up a limited liability company (LLC) to do it.

Ms Moe said that Maxwell bought the property for $1.07m (£852,276) with a “carefully anonymized LLC,” and added that the estate agent realised who Maxwell was when they saw her on the news shortly after.

It has been widely reported that the 58-year-old went to great lengths to avoid being found, and prosecutors revealed on Monday that she even wrapped her mobile phone in tin foil to “evade detection”.

In a bail request, that was heard and denied in court on Tuesday, Maxwell’s lawyers proposed a bond of $5m (£4m) alongside home detention with electronic monitoring, and argued that she was not a flight risk.

Ms Moe told the court on Tuesday that Maxwell should be denied bail because of her alleged lies to buy the house and attempts to evade detection from the authorities.

“These facts make clear to the court that the defendant is willing to live in hiding, that she’s good at it...even if it compromises her relationship with other people.

“There can really be no question that the defendant can lie about who she is, and that she has the means to do so.” Ms Moe said.

She added that Maxwell has the “willingness and ability to live off the grid indefinitely,” and highlighted that “a year is an extremely long time to live undetected by the public.”

Maxwell pleaded “not guilty” to the alleged charges earlier in the day on Tuesday.

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Ghislaine Maxwell wrapped phone in tin foil to ‘evade detection’