Articles Posted in Escort Services, Prostitution and Unlicensed Massage

Prostitution is a polarizing word. There are some who look at the very real horrors of human trafficking and there are others that believe if regulated by the government there could be tax revenues generated as a result of actions between consenting adults. Fortunately, neither this blog entry nor I will deal with any of the theoretical angles of prostitution. Simply, the bottom line is that in New York State, prostitution is a crime. Depending on one’s involvement, offenses range from misdemeanors to felonies. Regardless of the crime, you and your criminal lawyer would need to identify and formulate your best defense to avoid the embarrassment and stigma of a prostitution related arrest in New York City or elsewhere in the Empire State.

While this blog entry will not serve as an answer or legal advice for your particular arrest, it will review the crime of Promoting Prostitution in the Fourth Degree pursuant to New York Penal Law 230.20(1) . This particular degree of Promoting Prostitution is a class “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. As noted above, there are other more serious degrees of Promoting Prostitution in New York that are felonies and carry terms of incarceration in prison. Just as you should in all cases, consult with your own criminal defense attorney as to the nature of these and related charges should you be arrested or investigated for such crimes.

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In what one can easily describe as anti-climactic after the imposition of more than a million dollars bail, the 50 Shades of Grey-worthy prosecution of Anna Gristina has evidently left law enforcement clamoring for more salacious prosecutions. Fortunately, law enforcement can satisfy this empty void with the arrest of alleged pimp William Thomas. While pursuing crimes in the “streets as well as the suites” has apparently changed to crimes in “streets as well as the sheets,” not all escort related arrests are treated the same. In fact, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office secured a more reasonable and appropriate $10,000 bail for Thomas after his arrest for Promoting Prostitution.

According to the New York Post, an undercover police officer (who likely protested that he was assigned to the hard work of masquerading as a “John” pursuing a fetish for attractive Asian women instead of taking guns and drugs off the streets), met with Thomas after searching for escorts through www.E4AKorea.com and www.E4ANYC.com. It was through these websites that the NYPD and Manhattan prosecutors claim that Thomas advertised services of his nubile associates for up to $300 an hour.

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. has struck again in his pursuit of eradicating the worlds oldest illegal profession outside of Reno, Nevada. According to New York City newspapers as well as the New York County DA’s Office website, Anna Gristina has some new proverbial bedfellows in Grip Entertainment’s Vincent George, Jr., Vincent George, Sr., Asama Ahmad, Qabari Gaber, Theo Jones, David Lombardo, Assaf Nahomove and Sokol Perkaj. In varying capacities, each of the men face at least one count of Promoting Prostitution. Of significant concern for others, prosecutors claim that “johns” or men who paid for the prostitutes, will be prosecuted in coming days.

It is alleged that at least both Georges pimped out women in a prostitution ring that reached far beyond the Island of Manhattan. Prosecutors claim that the Georges father-son duo created Grip Entertainment as a front to launder money they illegally obtained through sex trafficking. Assisting them were six livery drivers – Ahmad, Gaber, Jones, Lombardo, Nahomove and Perkaj.

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If one of Gotham’s leading tabloids is correct, the dragnet for alleged “Mommy Madam” Anna Gristina’s pimping accomplice is one step closer to exposing its target. According to the NY Post, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD have their eyes set on 30 year old VIP Life matchmaking recruiter Jaynie Baker as the next arrest in the latest high end prostitution bust.

Despite all the hubbub, Gristina, and possibly Baker, is only charged with a “D” non-violent felony for Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree. While prosecutors claim the mother of four scored millions of dollars during her time as a madam, she is not charged with Money Laundering, Enterprise Corruption or any other crime. As I stated in an earlier entry, this one count indictment is strikingly “odd.” In the recent past, high end escort services and their proprietors have been charged with significantly more offenses and much more serious crimes than one “D” felony that does not even carry a mandatory state prison sentence.

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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).

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According to the New York Post, Jason Itzler, the self described “King of All Pimps” behind New York Confidential, was arrested again after prosecutors picked up the convicted felon for Promoting Prostitution, Money Laundering and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance. Itzler had previously been convicted in New York County upon a plea of guilty to Money Laundering and Promoting Prostitution. Ultimately, Itzler served less than two years in state prison. Because he is a predicate felon, should prosecutors be successful the second time around, prison is mandatory for itzler. In an interesting side story at the time and currently worth noting, Itzler’s counsel, Paul Bergrin, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. It was alleged that the attorney took over his client’s business and ran the escort service after his client was incarcerated. Bergrin is currently facing trial in New Jersey Federal Court on other matters.

It is alleged that Itzler re-created an online escort service in Manhattan. At some point he also is alleged to have sold cocaine.

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Although not arrested by Detective Frank Drebin, for seventeen individuals indicted in Brooklyn because of their alleged involvement in High Class NY, a New York City escort ring, this certainly is “some kind of a bust.” Unfortunately for them, however, there is nothing funny about the predicament they face. According to Charles Hynes, Kings County’s top prosecutor, “[th]ere is no such thing as a high-class pimp, and as we do with all other pimps, my office will prosecute these defendants and seek the maximum sentences available under the law.” Charged in the 144 count indictment, seventeen individuals, including Mikhail Yampolsky; his wife, Bronislava Yampolsky; his son, Alexander Yampolsky; his step-son, Jonathan Yampolskaya and alleged investors Efim Gorelik and Yakov Maystrovich, face some of the highest degree felonies in the New York Penal Code. In addition to these defendants, detectives also arrested Valerii Loboda, Irina Pobukovsky, Ilya Olshansky, Angelo Pascacello, Meredith Harford, Boris Ratovsky, Yury Gorelik, Pinia Ashkinadze, Alexey Senenov and Oleg Lechko. These men and women, as well as five corporations, face a multitude of crimes such as Enterprise Corruption, Promoting Prostitution, Money Laundering, and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance.

If it is not overwhelming clear through DA Hynes’ statement, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office firmly believes that this alleged crew of pimps and prostitutes, who also dabbled in narcotics and drug trafficking, is being treated not merely as individuals, but as an organized criminal institution. Enterprise Corruption, a “B” felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of one to three years in prison and a maximum of eight and one third to twenty five years in state prison for a first time offender, is New York’s version of the federal RICO statute. In charging this crime and arresting these individuals, prosecutors believe and must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that High Class NY operated with a structure that was both ascertainable in nature, ie, different levels of workers, with a common goal or purpose.

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According to reports, ex-Giant Lawrence “L.T.” Taylor pleaded guilt to the misdemeanors of Patronizing a Prostitute and Sexual Misconduct this afternoon in full satisfaction of his arrest and charges stemming from his alleged statutory rape of a 16 year old girl. It is likely that LT saw the “writing on the wall” if he decided to fight the case at trial. Unfortunately, for Mr. Taylor, it is not a legal defense to say that he believed, genuinely or not, that the girl was 19 or 25 for that matter. The former All-Pro linebacker is not out of the woods yet. It appears as if Mr. Taylor will be sentenced to probation, but will also have to register as a sex offender.

Patronizing a Prostitute is a fairly straight forward offense. A person is guilty of Patronizing a Prostitute in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 230.04, when he or she patronizes a prostitute. Generally, patronizing includes an agreement or exchange of sexual conduct (it need not be penetration) for a fee.

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Ask anyone who has been accused of committing a crime. The mere accusation, even if he or she is vindicated later, is a humiliating experience. When one is accused of soliciting a prostitute, technically a violation New York Penal Law section 230.04, Patronizing a Prostitute in the Third Degree, this embarrassment is magnified exponentially. Make no mistake, an arrest for any offense requires a NY criminal defense attorney’s direct attention. However, those in our communities may be more judgmental if they learn a neighbor is accused of Patronizing a Prostitute than if that same neighbor is accused of a more serious “white collar” crime. “Only” an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, Patronizing a Prostitute in the Third Degree, pursuant to New York Penal Law 230.04 is defined as follows:

A person is guilty of Patronizing a Prostitute in the Third Degree when he or she patronizes a prostitute.

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As long as the world’s oldest profession is profitable, the police and prosecutors will continue to go on the offensive to busting up and tearing down escort and prostitution rings. Unfortunately for Kenneth Fuina and Shawana Smith, they were the targets of such an investigation by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office that spanned two years. Now, Fuina and Smith are sitting in a White Plains jail cell on $100,000 bail each and facing the charge of Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, a class “D” felony punishable by up to 2 and 1/3 to 7 years in state prison. A third defendant, Genevieve Peattie, was released from jail but is charged with a misdemeanor of Prostitution.

According to reports, it is alleged that Kenneth Fuina and Shawana Smith ran a website for high end call girls charging between $600 to $2000 for one or more hours of “GFE” or a full service sexual encounter otherwise known as “Girl Friend Experience.” The girls were recruited and their services were offered through a website, www.discreetcompanions.moonfruit.com. Once a client contacted Fuina or Smith, it is alleged that the girls were sent out to hotels in Westchester cities such as White Plains, Rye, Rye Brook and Tarrytown.

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