A WHITBY woman is accused of living a double life as a Manhattan brothel keeper, servicing the rich and powerful while running an animal sanctuary in upstate New York.
Anna Gristina (44) is alleged to have run the multi-million dollar “gold standard of escort services” for clients who included property entrepreneurs, billionaires and New York police officers.
Born in Whitby, she was adopted aged just four months by John and Annie Tennant, who raised her in Kirkliston, near Edinburgh.
She then moved from the Highlands to the US as a teenager and apparently cut all ties with her Scottish family.
Last week a New York court heard that she is accused of managing a prostitution racket, but her lawyer, Peter Gleason, said: “To speak about the defendant is to speak about an individual who is a caring, loving mother.
“Her spirits are very high, she is looking forward to a speedy resolution of this matter.
“I am quite impressed by her spirit.”
Mrs Gristina has two daughters with her first husband, Fernando Pak, from whom she was divorced at 24.
She then married Italian-born Dario Bristina and the couple had a son.
After that marriage ended she met Kelvin Gorr and had another son, now aged nine.
After failing to produce £1.9million in bail money, the self-styled “hockey mom” was remanded in custody.
Her lawyers say she had been merely attempting to create a dating website when she was arrested and Mrs Gristina also claimed that her Upper East Side flat was actually a ‘crash pad’ for her model friends to entertain their boyfriends.
However prosecutors claim to have more than 100 hours of secretly recorded tapes taken over a five-year period on which Mrs Gristina is alleged to have boasted making millions of dollars from prostitution, earning her the nickname “the Manhattan Madame”.
On the recordings she is allegedly heard boasting of making up to $1 million a year from prostitution, adding that she was careful about what she did with the money.
“I always deal in cash,” she is reported as saying.
“Anything I own is in different names.
“My signature is not on anything.
“The day you get arrested, they take your money, your land, everything.
“All my accounts are located outside the country under another name.
“Every time the doorbell rings, I think they’re finally here for me.
“I don’t know, maybe we’re all just paranoid.”
Mrs Gristina is alleged to have used the psedonym Anna Scotland when conducting her illicit affairs and is due back in court in May.