Jeffrey Epstein reportedly told women and young girls that he was a modeling scout for Victoria’s Secret. The financier never worked for the lingerie retailer, or even, technically, for its parent company, L Brands. But he had a close relationship with the head of L Brands, Leslie Wexner, assuming an unusual degree of control over Wexner’s assets and personal life, according to reporting by The New York Times. Epstein seems to have exploited his proximity to Victoria’s Secret to facilitate his alleged crimes. According to Alicia Arden, a model and actress, this was Epstein’s ruse when he lured her to a Santa Monica hotel room and assaulted her in 1997. When Maria Farmer, who worked the door at Epstein’s New York mansion, asked why so many young girls were going in and out of his home, she says she was told that they were auditioning to be models for the lingerie brand. Some of them, she told The New Yorker, were wearing school uniforms.
L Brands executives were reportedly made aware, in the mid-1990s, that Epstein was posing as a modeling recruiter for the company. Although they alerted Wexner, he seems to have taken no action. His relationship with Epstein endured, and in 1998 Wexner let Epstein take possession of his palatial mansion on East 71st Street in Manhattan where much of Epstein’s abuse is said to have taken place. Even after Wexner severed ties with Epstein, Victoria’s Secret continued to work with MC2 Model Management, an agency whose owner, Jean-Luc Brunel, has been accused of operating a sex-trafficking operation for wealthy men, Epstein among them. Models from MC2 walked in the brand’s televised fashion show as recently as 2015.