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.
What is likely concerning to many johns (men who solicit prostitutes) and the defendants already indicted, is that credit cards were allegedly used to procure the services of prostitutes from High Class NY through websites such as HighClassNY.Com, DiscreteClub.Com, NY AdultDating.com, CupidDirect.Com, and AngelofYourChoice.com. These alleged escorts charged between $400 to as much as $3,600 an hour. It is further claimed by law enforcement that men paid up to $10,000 in one night. Whether or not these johns are contacted and questioned by law enforcement is yet to be seen, but the defendants may have created an easy trail of criminality in terms of ascertaining dates of “transactions,” monies spent and the names of these johns. Combine this with the ability of law enforcement to obtain records of login information, IP addresses and hosting information, this alleged evidence gives law enforcement the ability to more easily prosecute the charge of Money Laundering and Promoting Prostitution.
In addition to these crimes, prosecutors allege that when some of the johns booked the “models,” they were also supplied with drugs. In an attempt to allegedly cover up the Sheepshead Bay’s escort and prostitution service, contracts were created whereby “models” signed agreements not to engage in sexual activity with clients. Assuming this is accurate, the alleged ring members would have some difficulty solely using these contracts as a defense if evidence can show that they benefited financially or were involved in the sexual activity or drug trade.
According to the indictment, High Class NY made more than $7 million between September 2007 and November 2010. Moreover, both Gorelik and Maystrovich each invested $700,000 in the company. It is likely that this corroboration came through a variety of sources such as records from High Class NY as well as search warrants and wire taps.
I can only speculate (I only have information supplied through media outlets and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office press release), but clearly some individuals will have stronger defenses than others. In part, this is because they operated outside of the structure or did not have their hands in narcotics trafficking. Moreover, the District Attorney’s Office will likely come down harder on different individuals due to their particular roles in the ring. What defense is set forth by the defendants and what defenses are viable will slowly and undoubtedly come to light over the next few weeks.
Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors. The New York criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC represent those who are accused or crimes throughout the New York City region.
For extensive information on New York Prostitution crimes and related offenses follow the highlighted link. Additionally, a wealth of information on other crimes, including Enterprise Corruption, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance and Money Laundering can be found on the Crotty Saland PC website as well as the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog.