New details about how the FBI tracked down Ghislaine Maxwell have come to light in new unsealed court documents, filed on July 1, 2020 — just one day before she was arrested. According to the papers, authorities used cellphone data to catch Maxwell, who was hiding out in her $1 million New Hampshire compound at the time.
The warrant allowed the FBI to “use an investigative device or devices capable of broadcasting signals that will be received by” Maxwell’s phone “or receiving signals from nearby cellular devices."
“Such a device may function in some respects like a cellular tower, except that it will not be connected to the cellular network and cannot be used by a cell phone to communicate with others,” the affidavit states, adding that the device would not intercept any of her calls, texts or data.
The disgraced socialite, 59, had used the phone, which was registered under the name “G Max,” in order to contact her lawyer, Laura Menninger, her sister Isabel Maxwell and her husband, Scott Borgerson, the affidavit states.
Despite the feds previously obtaining a search warrant in New York to gather data for Maxwell’s cellphone account, they couldn’t figure out which building in New Hampshire she lived in.
“The FBI does not know Maxwell’s current location and accordingly requires the information sought in this application in order to locate and arrest Maxwell,” the affidavit states.
The details in the warrant indicate that the FBI used a “stringray” device, a.k.a. an “ISMI catcher” to figure out where Maxwell was. The equipment can simulate a cell tower and forces mobile phones in the immediate vicinity to see where someone is by using the phone’s location.
As a result, 24 FBI agents raided her hideaway.
Per the affidavit, Maxwell shared a joint bank account with her husband — whose name she initially did not disclose to the court — and her Amazon account sent him "multiple packages within approximately the last year."
According to the document, the last time Maxwell's device and Borgerson's phone communicated was around March 2020.
"Ms. Maxwell is not the person the media has portrayed her to be, far from it," the filing said. "Ms. Maxwell wants to stay in New York and have her day in court so that she can clear her name and return to her family."
Maxwell’s trial begins in July, and she has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, Maxwell will face up to 35 years in prison.
The Daily Beast was the first to report the news about how the feds caught Maxwell.