The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Sex Ring That Serviced Wealthy Clients in Four Brothels Busted, Police Say

By Murray Weiss | October 22, 2012 7:36am | Updated on October 22, 2012 6:17pm

NEW YORK CITY — Move over “Millionaire Madam.”

A man who allegedly built a thick black book of well-heeled clients and serviced them with a Manhattan sex empire that included four brothels has been busted by the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s office, DNAinfo.com New York has learned.

William Thomas, 42, operated lucrative houses of prostitution on the Upper East Side, Midtown and Downtown that catered to wealthy Johns with a penchant for Asian women, officials said.

While “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina used a small one-bedroom apartment on East 74th Street, Thomas allegedly had a thriving operation at 238 E. 50th St. that was “a large apartment with multiple beds, occupied by five women” according to court records.

He also had three more apartments, on East 39th St., West 36th Street and One Maiden Lane.

Sources said his customers were “white-collar” Johns who found the operation via several bawdy online websites Thomas allegedly ran that featured a bevy of topless and scantily clad women. He had roughly 25 women working for him, sources said.

On the websites, the hookers posed as housemaids, schoolgirls and therapists charging roughly $260-an-hour. They also provided times and locations when they were available.

In one posting, clients were reminded, “Don’t Forget WHIPPED CREAM WEEK downtown.”

The ads also provided a menu of services ranging from massages and happy endings to XXX-rated action.

The offerings were couched in acronyms and abbreviations, such as “F/S” and “GFE,” which were deciphered by a veteran NYPD detective in criminal complaints filed by Manhattan prosecutors.

“NEW Midtown GFE Kgirls CHANEL, URI AND NIKKI are available T-F, 11-9 p.m.,” blared one caption beneath a half-naked woman. “They $400-hr and $200/hh ($220/hr and $180/hh for FS only) and are located in same building as Sarah and Jane at the new W 36th location."

Det. William McLaughlin decoded the meanings in court records.

“The text states that the women offer 'F/S' and 'GFE.' In my experience investigating prostitution businesses for many years, 'F/S' means 'full service' sex - i.e., sexual intercourse - and 'GFE' means 'the girlfriend experience,' which means that the woman will pretend to be the customer’s affectionate girlfriend and may engage in unprotected sex,” McLaughlin said.

“The prices quoted on the websites are consistent with Asian prostitution services,” he continued, noting that the “E4AKorea.com and E4ANYC.com websites” also asked customers to provide reviews at TER.com, which stands for The Erotic Review, “where members post sexually graphic reviews of their encounters with prostitutes.”

The NYPD detective went on to lay bare several other codes that coincided with even more provocative sexual activity detailed in ads beneath the hookers.

According to sources, Thomas attracted a cross section of Johns from Wall Street, from bankers to lawyers to businessmen.

“You can bet they’re hoping the Manhattan prosecutors do not pull a Kennebunkport and release their names,” one source said, referring to last week’s prostitution scandal in Maine where the names of Johns who had sex with a local Zumba instructor were being published.

Sources said Thomas is the father of four children and lives on Fulton Street in Brooklyn.

Court records show he was picked up Oct. 11 after he met with an undercover cop posing as a customer and arranged for the cop to have sex with prostitutes at his East 50th Street location.

Also arrested were two alleged female accomplices, Jung Lee, 28, of Queens, and Rei Spain, 38, of Elmsford, NY.

On his Twitter page, a shirtless, curly-haired Thomas is pictured holding one of his children on a sundrenched day.   

He describes himself as “father, son, friend” and that he has an “entrepreneurial spirit,” and there are plenty of tweets about football and the upcoming election.

Charged with promoting prostitution, Thomas was freed on $35,000 bail. He is due back in court Dec. 13. The women are due in court on Dec. 12.

Calls to his lawyer were not immediately returned.

Gristina  boasted of having law enforcement officials protecting her operation and prosecutors believed she had a black book loaded with wealthy clients.

Gristina — and prosecutors — never revealed the names of any of her clients, although DNAinfo New York reported that one of Gristina's call-girls told investigators that John Edwards, the former senator and presidential candidate, spent a night with her.

Gristina spent several months in prison before pleading guilty to a single charge of promoting prostitution.