Anna Gristina, who has been nicknamed in the media the “Soccer Mom Madam,” pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of promoting prostitution after spending time in prison for running an illegal brothel in New York City.
According to The New York Times, Gristina accepted a plea offer that would not require her to serve any additional jail time. Justice Juan M. Merchan of State Supreme Court in Manhattan said since Gristina had already served six months in jail and had good behavior as a first-time offender, she was give five years of probation. The offer was contingent on admitting guilt and cooperating with authorities.
Gristina was charged in February with moonlighting an escort service for prominent clients including law-enforcement officials, who would tip her off if she was about to be discovered. Her case garnered even more attention when a prosecutor produced a recording of Gristina telling a friend that some of her wealthy clients offered to pay for her flight to flee the country had she ever been caught. However, the claims in the wiretapped conversation could not be proved, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
“We are left with a straightforward promoting-prostitution case — a defendant who ran a brothel for many years and who profited from the sex trade,” assistant district attorney Charles Linehan said Tuesday.
According to The Associated Press, Scotland-born Gristina ran an upscale escort service for over 15 years, accumulating $10 million. She was arrested on Feb. 22 leaving a fundraising meeting at Morgan Stanley for her business. Her assistant, two alleged prostitutes and a money-launderer were also arrested.
Gristina initially pleaded not guilty to promoting prostitution, saying she was only running a dating service, not a brothel. Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan initially placed her on a $2 million bond and, after appeals, reduced it to $250,000 in early June. She could have faced up to seven years in prison if she was convicted.