(The Hill) — Three people were arrested for allegedly operating “sophisticated high-end brothels” in Virginia and Massachusetts that catered to high-powered clients, including elected officials and government contractors with security clearances, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
Han Lee, 41, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; James Lee, 68, of Torrance, California, and Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, Massachusetts, were charged with conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity, the DOJ said.
The interstate prostitution network included multiple brothels in Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts, and just outside of Washington, D.C., in Fairfax and Tysons, Virginia, according to the DOJ. The brothels have allegedly been operational since at least July 2020.
The DOJ did not identify any of the high-powered clients the brothels allegedly served but said, “The investigation into the involvement of sex buyers is active and ongoing.”
“Over the course of the investigation, a wide array of buyers were identified, including, but not limited to, politicians, high tech and pharmaceutical executives, doctors, military officers, government contractors that possess security clearances, professors, lawyers, scientists and accountants,” the department said.
The DOJ detailed in a press release some of the steps the defendants allegedly took to maintain their high-end operation.
The department said the brothels were located in rented high-end apartment complexes with monthly rents as high as $3,664. The defendants allegedly coordinated airfare and travel for the women who participated in the brothels and permitted them to stay in the apartment complexes.
Websites purported to advertise nude Asian models for professional photography at upscale studios, the DOJ said, but that was “a front for prostitution offered through appointments with women listed on their websites.”
The DOJ detailed the alleged verification process that buyers had to undertake to become eligible for appointment bookings, including “requiring clients [to] complete a form providing their full names, email address, phone number, employer and reference if they had one.”
The department also described steps defendants allegedly took to conceal the source of fund transfers.