Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire Thursday morning on charges that she helped procure and groom underage girls for the well-connected financier.
In 2019, Epstein was found dead in a jail cell in New York while awaiting trial on sexual abuse charges.
According to an indictment unsealed Thursday, Maxwell is facing six counts, including enticing a minor to engage in illegal sex acts and lying about her involvement in the scheme to federal prosecutors.
During a brief hearing in federal court in Concord Thursday afternoon, a magistrate judge ordered Maxwell transported to New York for further proceedings.
Prosecutors consider Maxwell, who maintains three passports and has assets in excess of $20 million, a flight risk and will argue she should be detained without bail pending trial.
“Maxwell was among Epstein’s closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old," said Audrey Strauss, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, during a press conference. "Maxwell played a critical role in helping to identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse.”
According to the FBI, Maxwell was taken into custody without incident at 8:30am in the quiet town of Bradford. Neighbors described seeing aircraft circling the 156-acre property where Maxwell was living.
“We have been discreetly keeping tabs on Maxwell’s whereabouts as we worked this investigation," said William Sweeney, assistant director for the FBI, during Thursday's press conference. "And more recently, we learned she’d slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago.”
It isn’t clear how long Maxwell has resided in New Hampshire, or what her connections may be to the small town of Bradford. The socialite has kept a low profile since the arrest and suicide of Epstein in August 2019.
According to prosecutors, Maxwell purchased the 156-acre home for approximately $1 million in late 2019. The all cash purchase was facilitated through an anonymous limited liability corporation registered in Massachusetts.
The rural estate was gated Thursday morning, as media from around the region descended on the small town. The phrase ‘Tucked Away’ is carved into a large stone near the driveway.
Federal prosecutors accuse Maxwell of working closely with Epstein in the mid 1990s to befriend young women. After drawing victims in, prosecutors allege Maxwell and Epstein both engaged in sexual abuse.
These assaults allegedly took place inside Epstein’s Manhattan residence, an estate in Florida, and a ranch in New Mexico.
Along with the sexual assault charges, Maxwell is also facing perjury accusations. Prosecutors say she lied under oath during a 2016 deposition about her involvement in procuring victims for Epstein.
If convicted, Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison.
Maxwell’s arrest in Bradford shocked many in the small central New Hampshire town.
Dick Morris’ house sits directly across the road from the property that federal prosecutors say Maxwell bought last year. He says he never noticed anything out of the ordinary at the property.
“Nothing odd. I’ve only met one person who lives up there. I don’t believe I’ve met the owner. But there was a guy who was plowing, who was living with them and he would run the big plow down here and he was pushing the stuff across the street into my front yard, so I just asked him if he could push it to the side. But I have seen small SUVs going up there. It just seemed like normal traffic.”
Chris Hansen says he learned of the arrest while on the job for a property management company.
"We were launching a boat, and they were like hey, did you hear? And I was like hear what? And they were like big news in Bradford. And I was like what? Then they said and I was like wow.”
Federal prosecutors say Maxwell was hiding out at the 156-acre property in town. The property sold in Bradford last year sits on East Washington Road. Its long driveway is marked by a large stone with “TUCKED AWAY” etched into it.
Neighbors say they never met Maxwell or anyone they believed to be the property’s current owners.
(This story will be updated as more information becomes available. NHPR's Josh Rogers contributed to this story.)
Read the full indictment below. Note: This document contains details of sexual assault and abuse of minors: