Epstein Loses a Fortune, His Freedom

Remember Jeffrey Epstein, the "billionaire" financier and Bill Clinton pal who was busted in 2006 for his sexual relationships with underage girls? Two bits of news about the secretive mogul came to light today. First off, it turns out he was an investor in the ill-fated and scandal-plagued Bear Stearns hedge fund managed by Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin. It seems poor Jeff lost a bundle when the fund imploded last summer—some $57 million. Even worse, though, is that today marks the day when he is expected to turn himself in to the police in Palm Beach and immediately begin serving an 18-month sentence for soliciting an underage prostitute. (Where, we're guessing, he won't be able to waltz around in a "JEE" monogrammed fleece as he is on the left.) As awful as that all is, we can't help but think about what a crappy month it's been for Epstein's former pal, Ron Burkle. He now has multiple (former) friends behind bars. And there are a bunch of other people who probably regret ever hooking up with the supermarket billionaire.

For starters, there's Bill Clinton, whose friendship with Burkle has been the source of a good deal of embarrassment over the past year, what with the rumors of nights out on the town and sexual escapades with young babes. (Burkle made an appearance in the takedown of the former president in Vanity Fair last month, of course.) Then there's Rafaello Follieri, who went into business with Burkle—the supermarket billionaire financed a real estate venture in partnership with the shady Italian—which culminated in a lawsuit and, as of last week, in Follieri's arrest on a litany of charges.

Finally, there's Epstein, who was once part of the Clinton inner circle, too, and also enjoyed ferrying Bubba on a private jet, investing in magazines, and spending nights out with young chicks. Burkle wisely cut his ties to Epstein after his arrest (and threatened litigation when he was linked with the pervy money manager). Which means that while Burkle has few former friends in the clink, neither Epstein nor Follieri should count on Burkle sending them care packages any time soon.

Update via the AP: "Circuit Judge Deborah Dale Pucillo sentenced the 55-year-old money manager Monday to 18 months in the Palm Beach County jail, followed by a year of house arrest. He also will be designated a sex offender."