N.Y. Madam In Spitzer Case Sentenced

Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer's career ended when he was caught soliciting a high-priced prostitute. CBS/The Early Show

A college student who managed the prostitution ring that brought down former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was sentenced to six months in prison Thursday.

Cecil Suwal, 24, of New York, cried as she apologized and asked for mercy from U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones.

"It is my aim to prevent others, especially young girls, from making the kind of mistakes that I have made," said Suwal.

She pleaded guilty last year to money laundering, conspiracy and conspiring to promote prostitution.

The federal probation department had recommended that Suwal receive no prison time. Prosecutors had sought roughly two years.

Suwal was 18 when she got involved with a man nearly three times her age. She was Mark Brener's "paramour, his companion and ultimately his assistant" at the Emperors Club VIP, a $5,500-an-hour escort service, said defense attorney Alberto A. Ebanks.

Ebanks said Brener's psychological domination left her incapable of making independent decisions. Her attorney said she even had a tattoo on her body reading "property of Mark Brener."

But Ebanks said Suwal has "permanently severed the umbilical cord from Brener," adding that she attended college last semester, did charity work, had steady appropriate employment and had volunteered for a forensic psychological evaluation.

The federal judge credited Suwal for going to "extraordinary lengths to put her life back on track" but said it could not erase the fact that she had played a central role in the escort service.

Brener, 63, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a prostitution offense and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces between 2 and 2½ years in prison.

The judge said Suwal opened bank accounts for shell businesses created to hide the true nature of the operation, paid prostitutes and arranged meetings with clients.

It was one such meeting in a Washington hotel last February that snared Spitzer and led to his March resignation as governor.

Prosecutors announced in November they would not charge Spitzer after investigators found no evidence that he misused public or campaign funds for prostitution. The federal government typically does not prosecute clients of prostitution rings.

Booking agent Tanya Robin Hollander of Rhinebeck, N.Y., pleaded guilty to a prostitution conspiracy and was sentenced to a year of probation. Another booking agent, Temeka Lewis, who is enrolled at the University of Virginia, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to promoting prostitution and money laundering.

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