If New York was the Biggest Little City in the World, then prostitution would be a taxable source of pleasure for the state and federal government. New York City, however, is not Reno and Anna Gristina is not the proprietor of the infamous Bunny Ranch. According to Cyrus Vance, Jr.'s Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Gristina ran an enterprise that serviced well healed clients over a fifteen year period. In fact, according to Assistant District Attorneys, Gristina did not run a multimillion-dollar Gotham based prostitution ring alone. Instead, she ran her alleged brothel service with an at-large and unidentified co-defendant.
It is alleged that an Upper East Side apartment was a haven for late night and lunch time lovers who paid millions of dollars to Gristina over the course of fifteen years. It appears that prosecutors spent significant time and money pursuing Gristina and likely have powerful evidence. It is asserted that law enforcement sent in undercover police officers to investigate the alleged sexual fiascos (much to their chagrin and objection one would assume) as well as informants. Reports further indicate that there may be at least fifty hours of surveillance videos and recordings rated at least between "G" and "R" assuming there were no cams set up for a more detailed view. Unfortunately for Gristina, its is alleged that the madam even bragged that her connections in law enforcement would giver her a tip should Big Brother be onto her trysting scheme. Even Jason Itsler, the self proclaimed "King of all Pimps" did not not have that luxury (regardless, both have found themselves in custody during their alleged pimping careers).
While it does not appear that the $2 million bail is keeping Gristina in on an indictment that charges Enterprise Corruption, New York State's version of the RICO statute used in large scale fraud or criminal money making schemes, according to WebCrims, Gristina is charged with only one felony, Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree. New York Penal Law 230.25(1) is a "D" felony and as such, the mother of four faces as much as two and one third to seven years in prison. Compounding matters, Gristina is not a citizen of the United States and would likely face deportation should she be convicted. Briefly, one is guilty of Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree when that person knowingly advances or profits from prostitution. This advancement or profiting must be through the managing, supervising, controlling or owning of a house of prostitution or prostitution business. Alternatively, in lieu of a house or business, one must profit or advance from an enterprise involving prostitution activity by two or more prostitutes.
As a former Manhattan prosecutor and New York criminal lawyer, I am not surprised that District Attorney's Offices are pursuing these large scale prostitution enterprises. I have witnessed and been involved in these types of prosecutions as an attorney on both sides of the law. What surprises me, however, is the scope and length of this investigation in connection to the offense charged. That is, a "D" non-violent felony. For lack of a better term it seems "odd." It is likely that WebCrims is incorrect as to all of the charges contained in the indictment or there are aggravating factors such as possible human trafficking or underage prostitutes. Is somebody of "great significance" tied up in this case? Certainly, there are potential tax issues and crimes, but that can't be the reason this case was pursued over five years. It is not as if illegal firearms or narcotics were being taken off the streets. To be clear, I am in no way minimizing this indictment and investigation, but I believe there must be something beyond what we see on the surface. It would not surprise me to learn of human trafficking, underage escorts, police corruption or the involvement of someone of "great importance" as this case unfolds.
Whether other charges are brought, law enforcement officers are exposed in the criminal activity or we learn that Gristina's claims of connections were pure bluster, the ramifications and reality for Gristina are quite serious.
To learn about the numerous crimes from Prostitution and Patronizing a Prostitute to Permitting Prostitution and Promoting Prostitution, review the Escort and Prostitution Information Page.
A New York criminal defense firm established by two former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys, the New York criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC represent those accused of and investigated for crimes throughout New York City and beyond.