An accused madam and a matchmaking recruiter aren't the only people arrested in the investigation into allegations of a multimillion-dollar New York City prostitution ring: Three others also are quietly facing charges ranging from prostitution to money laundering.
Those three arrests happened weeks and even more than a year ago, but they became the latest sign of the scope of the case after the New York Post reported them Friday. Meanwhile, investigators searched the office of a lawyer connected to the suburban home where alleged madam Anna Gristina lives, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press.
Prosecutors say Gristina, 44, set up a rendezvous for rich clients for 15 years and was heard bragging that she had connections in law enforcement. Gristina, a former real estate broker and mother of four, and co-defendant Jaynie Baker have pleaded not guilty to a single charge of promoting prostitution. Their lawyers have said the two were working on starting a dating service, not selling sex.
"It's becoming more and more apparent to me that this case is much more than this one charge against my client," Gristina's lawyer, Gary Greenwald, said by phone Friday. He declined to comment further.
Investigators searched Manhattan lawyer David Jaroslawicz's office Friday, according to a person familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. Jaroslawicz is involved in a corporate entity that owns the home where Gristina lives in Monroe, N.Y., according to property records. He also owns another home on the same street.
A lawyer representing him, Marc Agnifilo, would say only that prosecutors have told him that Jaroslawicz is not a target of their investigation. Jaroslawicz didn't immediately return a call for comment.
The Manhattan district attorney's office declined to comment on the case.
Meanwhile, it became clear that at least one person _ the man accused of laundering money, identified in court papers only as John Doe _ has been facing charges for two years or more, according to court records. During a hearing last month on his case _ though most of it was devoted to discussing search warrants for Gristina's home and the Manhattan apartment where the trysts allegedly happened _ a prosecutor said the man was "doing well and has been in touch with us," a transcript shows. The man's lawyer didn't immediately return a call Friday.
The two women charged with prostitution, Mhairiangelo Bottone and Catherine DeVries, were arrested in recent weeks and pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge. Bottone and DeVries were released without bail after their lawyers said they were willing to meet with prosecutors, court records and transcripts show.
Bottone's lawyer, Carlos M. Carvajal, said by phone Friday her client was an interior designer who had met Gristina several years ago at a networking event Gristina hosted.
Bottone is "suffering collateral damage from the larger investigation," Carvajal said. He said he hoped "to get this resolved quickly for her" but declined to discuss any conversations she has had with prosecutors.
DeVries' lawyer declined to comment.
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