In a court hearing Tuesday, a 45-year-old Scottish woman accused of running a million-dollar brothel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has accepted a plea deal. Anna Gristina, a suburban mother of four, pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution and will not be required to serve any jail time in addition to the four months she’s already spent on Riker’s Island before being released on $250,000 bond in June. A prosecutor requested that high bail be set, citing recorded conversations in which Gristina allegedly told a friend that if she were to be prosecuted, her rich clients would pay for her to leave the States. However, the same prosecutor said in court Tuesday that those conversations could not be proved.
Gristina was arrested in February on a charge stemming from a July, 2011, incident in which she arranged an encounter between two women and an undercover officer. Throughout the 15 years during which she ran the business that netted her millions, Gristina claimed she operated a matchmaking service. A co-defendant, Jaynie Baker, 31, was a former matchmaking recruiter who police say helped Gristina run the brothel.
In her life outside of being a madam, Gristina lived on a sprawling ranch in Monroe, N.Y., about 50 miles north of the city. There, she took care of abandoned animals, especially pigs. Now, Gristina, a Scottish citizen, may face deportation.