Steven Hoffenberg: Jeffrey Epstein Mentor and One-Time New York Post Manager Who Spent 18 Years in Prison

From a New York Post obit by Tina Moore and Ben Kesslen headlined “Steven Hoffenberg, Epstein mentor and one-time New York Post manager, found dead”:

Steven Hoffenberg, the disgraced businessman and longtime mentor of Jeffrey Epstein, was found dead Tuesday when Connecticut police discovered his rotting corpse during a wellness check, The Post has learned.

Authorities discovered Hoffenberg, who spent 18 years in prison for running a half-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, dead in his home around 8 p.m. Tuesday. It is not clear exactly when he died.

Police had been called to the 77-year-old’s home in Derby, Conn., at the request of a friend. No cause of death has been revealed, but police said there were no immediate signs of trauma to his body.

“Every indication is that it is Mr. Hoffenberg,” a Derby Police Department spokesman said. “There’s nothing to suggest that it isn’t. We believe it’s him. We’re just waiting for dental records.”

In a statement posted to Facebook, police said the body was found “in a state where a visual identification could not be made.”

Hoffenberg, who was once Epstein’s boss, might have been the link to his mysterious fortune.

Hoffenberg had claimed that Epstein was his accomplice in a Ponzi scheme he ran through his Towers Financial Corp.

He pleaded guilty to the scheme in 1995 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. While Hoffenberg sat locked up, Epstein was allegedly raping teenage girls with the help of his now-convicted madam, Ghislaine Maxwell.

Tower investors have claimed in an August 2018 lawsuit that Epstein “knowingly and intentionally utilized funds he fraudulently diverted and obtained from this massive Ponzi scheme for his own personal use to support a lavish lifestyle.”

“He was my colleague daily, seven days a week,” he said of Epstein in a 2019 interview in Quartz.

Hoffenberg was briefly the court-appointed manager of The Post from January to March 1993, rescuing the newspaper from bankruptcy. The news was announced with an iconic Post cover that said “Last-minute deal saves The Paper…Hoffenberg Saves The Post,” calling him the paper’s “white knight.”

But the staff ultimately rebelled against Hoffenberg, and the paper was briefly handed over to Abe Hirschfeld before being bought for a second time by Rupert Murdoch, the current owner.

A former Trump Tower resident, Hoffenberg was an early backer of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, but withdrew his support.

He became a born-again Christian in prison, he told Quartz.

Also see the New York Times obit by Ed Shanahan headlined “Steven Hoffenberg, Debt Baron Who Ran a Vast Fraud, Dies at 77.” The opening grafs:

Steven J. Hoffenberg, a brash New York debt mogul who spent 18 years in federal prison after admitting to running a fraud scheme that prosecutors said was then among the largest such crimes in U.S. history, was found dead on Tuesday in the modest apartment in Derby, Conn., where he had lived for about two years.

Lt. Justin Stanko of the Derby police said the condition of Mr. Hoffenberg’s body when officers found it suggested that he had been dead for about a week. The officers were conducting a check after being contacted by a friend of Mr. Hoffenberg’s and by a private investigator, Lieutenant Stanko said.

An initial autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office did not find signs of trauma on the body, the police said in a news release, which also said an official cause of death was awaiting the results of additional toxicology tests.

Mr. Hoffenberg, who controlled The New York Post for a brief, tumultuous time in 1993, pleaded guilty two years later to conspiracy and fraud charges arising from a Ponzi scheme tied to his main company, Towers Financial Corporation, which was primarily a collection firm that bought debt from businesses like hospitals, nursing homes and phone companies.

Prosecutors said that Towers sold more than $460 million in fraudulent notes and bonds to investors and used some of the money to pay interest owed to earlier investors. The rest went to propping up a fiscal house of cards that relied on inflated revenue and phony profits to make Towers look like a major health care financing firm.

In his guilty plea, Mr. Hoffenberg, who once had a corporate jet, a limousine, a yacht, a Long Island estate and a Manhattan apartment, admitted to being the scheme’s mastermind. After leaving prison, he sought to blame someone else: his onetime business associate Jeffrey Epstein, who was later charged with the serial sexual abuse of young women and girls.

Steven Hoffenberg liked to portray himself “in Horatio Alger fashion,” The New York Times reported in 1993. He said he was a City College of New York dropout and had started his career with just $2,000.

In the 1970s, many small-business owners in New York City knew Mr. Hoffenberg as a so-called bust-out artist. He would take over businesses, use them to buy goods on credit that he could then sell for cash, and not pay his suppliers. His targets were left in financial ruin. He arrived at liquidation sales in a chauffeured limousine….

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