Mom Accused Of Running Upper East Side Prostitution Ring Faces Judge

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Anna Gristina, a suburban mom accused of running a multi-million dollar high-end prostitution ring, was arraigned Tuesday morning in Manhattan.

Gristina, a mother of four who resides in Monroe, NY, is accused of running a brothel out of an Upper East Side building on East 78th Street with help from police.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports  

“What she’s admitted to is being decent, kind, loving mother of four children who she’s been ripped away from during this proceeding,” defense attorney Peter Gleason said outside the courthouse.

According to the prosecutor, “there are certain high wealth individuals, friends and business associates who have an interest in not having this case move forward and would help her flee.”

Prosecutors say the 44-year-old has been working as a high-class madam for more than 15 years, amassing millions of dollars and dozens of high-profile contacts around the world in the process.

Tuesday morning, the judge sent Gristina back to Rikers Island on $2 million bond, agreeing with prosecutors who said she was a significant flight risk with her wealthy friends.

But defense attorneys argued that Gristina is not a heinous criminal. He stated that with only one charge in the indictment of promoting prostitution in the third degree, the judge’s decision was excessive.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

In the courtroom, prosecutors said that over the years she’s relied on several law enforcement sources to tip her off when investigators were getting close. She even allegedly fled to Montreal around 2008.

Investigators say they conducted five years worth of surveillance where they saw women they identified as prostitutes coming in and out of Gristina’s building, some of which were allegedly minors.

“Very well-dressed gentlemen, women I think of European background, it looked like, that’s how it appeared to me,” said neighbor Marty Garrett.

But Gleason denies the allegations that minors were involved, citing his investigator’s report.

“He’s giving me every indication that there are no underage girls involved,” he said.

Gleason says Gristina admits to nothing but says it’s hypocritical that she’s been charged, but not her alleged clients.

“To speak about the defendant is to speak about an individual who is a caring loving mother. But the only problem is, she’s a woman and not a man,” he said.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell With The Latest On The Case

Gristina was indicted in late February and was nabbed by law enforcement while meeting with a potential investor. Prosecutors say they believe she may have been trying to get a banker to invest in an online start-up that would match prostitutes with wealthy men.

“It’s disgusting, really disgusting for the kids around here,” one man said. “And it’s a nice neighborhood, really nice.”

EXTRA: Read The Full Indictment

Prosecutors say Gristina thought she was in the clear and say they have recordings of her discussing how her law enforcement contacts were “…poised to help her out, to let her know if there is trouble on the front that she needs to be concerned about, particularly back during the Eliot Spitzer investigation.”

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in March 2008 after reports surfaced that he patronized a prostitution service called Emperors Club VIP.

Manhattan madam Kristin Davis admitted to running a prostitution service. Davis now says she shared a booker with Gristina.

Gristina pleaded not guilty in February.

Please share your thoughts below…

Comments

One Comment

  1. Pete says:

    Legalize tax and regulate.. Get these girls healthcare and make sure they are 18. That’s a much better use of resources then these witch hunts. Men like sex and women like money. Hookers are never going away..

  2. Missvegas says:

    It is child prostitution involving elites, high political figures from both sides up to George W. Please look deeper and through other news sources outside the US for a complete story.

    1. cruz says:

      Well, if it does envolve children, thats a different story. If not, legalize it. We need the taxes but lets tax the “Low Class” hookers 35% and the “Capital Trim” hookers 12%. That will mean more jobs!

  3. cruz says:

    Legalize, Regulate and Tax! As long as no kids are involved, make it legal. How much did fours years of surveillance and investigation cost? How many times do we hear of this type of “crime”? Stop the madness. Both sexes can benefit from “No Nag” sex.

  4. White Plains Guy says:

    Was Eliot Spitzer [Client #9] a client of hers?

  5. Scott says:

    I thought bail was applied to insure your return to Court to answer charges levied against you, and in this Country your innocent until proven guilty. There seems to be something wrong with the justice system in New York.

  6. Roger says:

    Mom?

    I feel sorry for her children.

  7. DDbronx says:

    We legalize strippers but not prostitution? What the h… What a crazy world. Anyway, a harmless crime, what a waste of law enforcement 5 years? Did she force anyone in prostitutions? Or slave anyone? Meanwhile, I get raped by these MTA execs and Ny-NJPA raising price on toll and subway rides… Non gets arrested… Meanwhile, those execs maybe on that XXX contact list, are protected? What a crazy world.

  8. man from old ways says:

    if they dont use lie about children no one will even put it in any newspaper
    and the bail would be 10dollars like a street hooker gets why any different
    5 years all they had to do send in undercover one time make arest one day
    what a farce if they had one child the place would be closed in one day this is phony lies

  9. Dave says:

    I think this case involves kids… and that’s why people are so up in arms (and rightfully so). Plus that building is in a residential area, My sister-in-laws apartment is right next-door. It breaks my heart to think children were being abused with-in stones throw of where we have family dinner.

    1. The Facts says:

      If the girls were over sixteen, they would not be considered kids and would have to deal with criminal court. They would have to be at least seventeen to legally consent to sexual activity in New York State.

    2. Schniff D. Tookus says:

      Oh you tell em’ Dave, make em’ smell your ass.

      1. Dave says:

        I sure will, Schniff, I sure will.

  10. The Facts says:

    Prostitution is called the world’s oldest profession. It’s about time that New York State decriminalize it for non-coerced adults. This is a victimless “crime” and our law enforcement resources could be better used elsewhere.

  11. mj says:

    some higher up is sending her a message of just what he can do to her if she mentions names. why is prostitution a crime anyway …its a victimless crime

  12. Sailor Boy says:

    Back in my younger days you could buy some of that stuff for $3 yep 3dols, then it went to $6, bet its really high for some now, glad i got all mine in my younger days. today older and wiser i get all i want. Key word all i want..when you my age you dont want as much…Seriously seems like a waste of effort, must be election time in new yawk. In japan you could get all nighter and taxi fare back to ship for 800YEN..

    1. DIANN says:

      MY KINDA GUY SAILOR BOY ! !

    2. MikeD says:

      Are you that guy from Family Guy…..you know sailor with wooden arms and wooden legs? I think his name is Shamus. Apparently his body parts rotted from scurvy from salty sea-gals……who never went sailing.

  13. F. Allreligions says:

    I can’t believe I’m living in the 21st century. When my parents told me things would be better, advanced, more intelligent in the year 2000, they lied. Here it is 2012 and war, disease, famine, and pestilence continue, often encouraged, but something like sex is still a big issue. Well, some believe humans evolved from apes. Impossible, apes are smart.

  14. Love NYC says:

    The article was bad enough, but reading the response to it is really disgusting. Where are we headed as a society? Is nothing sacred?

  15. XXXXXX says:

    2 million bail are you kidding and Governor Corzine walks free after the MF Global thief. The criminal justice system is a joke

  16. Karl Marx's Love Child says:

    HEY IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY. CAPITALISM YOU KNOW MAKING MONEY WHILE EXPLOITING THE LABORER. WHY IS PROSTITUTION ANY DIFFERENT THAN CORPORATE AMERICA? MARXISM IS THE ANSWER. AMEN AND GOODNIGHT.

  17. Rocker80 says:

    She is being treated unfairly by the court system.

    1. Just some dude says:

      The prosecutors lie. The always say there are underage people involved when they are not. They say the same about “human trafficking.” B.S. 99% of the escorts out there know what they are doing, want to do it. have other options, and are not enslaved or underage. If you do not believe me just ask them yourselves. No more lies and hypocrisy please.

  18. Kim says:

    Hey Esmeralday

    Does your comment include minors as prostitutes? You should care…

  19. the bandid says:

    what a waste of time and money, guest the DA is afraid to go after the real criminals, the drug lords, prostitution has been around since the creation, it is the oldest profession around, the DA should after the drug lords, but i guess he don’t want to or can do it

    1. DIANN says:

      YOU’RE RIGHT, KEY WORDS WANT TO (OR) CAN DO !

  20. Peter says:

    where will I go now !!

  21. DIANN says:

    AS THE “ICE MAN” SITS ON DEATH ROW, HE ONCE SAID IN AN INDEPTH INTERVEIW ON A&E CHANNEL ON T.V. THAT THERE ARE THREE THINGS IN LIFE THAT WILL “NEVER” STOP; #1)- SEX, AS LONG AS IT IS THERE, IT “WILL” BE PURCHASED. #2)-GAMBELING & #3)-LOAN-SHARKING & FOR THE RECORD, THERE IS A 4TH=DRUGS. WE AS A NATION CONTINUE TO FIGHT THESE THINGS TO NO AVAIL. TOO MUCH MONEY & POWER @ THE TOP OF THE LADDER & IT ALWAYS WORKS IT’S WAY DOWN TO THE SMALL FRY. WANT TO STOP IT LET’S START @ THE TOP & DO SOME EFFECTIVE HOUSE CLEANING ! !

    1. Yankee Fan says:

      The Ice Man died two years ago in Bergen County Jail

  22. Esmerelda says:

    People screw around for free, a drink, a cupcake, in exchange for work,
    so if they want to pay, who cares.
    The least of most peoples worries.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS New York

Komen Race For The Cure
CAMPAIGN 2016

Listen Live