Three Busted in National Prostitution Ring That Used a High-End Apartment in Watertown

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Three men face charges in a federal bust of a prostitution ring that used an apartment in Watertown and allegedly included politicians, high-tech and pharmaceutical executives, professors, doctors and lawyers.

The court filing lists one of the locations used for prostitution was located in the Blvd & Bond apartments located in Arsenal Yards. Other places used by the ring were located in Cambridge, Dedham, Virginia, and California.

Han Lee, a/k/a “Hana,” 41, of Cambridge, Mass.; James Lee, 68, of Torrance, Calif.; and Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, Mass., were arrested on charges of conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity, and face sentences of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The Watertown Police had no comment about the investigation.

Details of the charges were included in the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston:

Three individuals have been arrested in connection with operating sophisticated high-end brothels in greater Boston and eastern Virginia. Commercial sex buyers allegedly included elected officials, high tech and pharmaceutical executives, doctors, military officers, government contractors that possess security clearances, professors, attorneys, scientists and accountants, among others.

The following defendants have been charged with conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity: 

  • Han Lee, a/k/a “Hana,” 41, of Cambridge, Mass.;
  • James Lee, 68, of Torrance, Calif.; and
  • Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, Mass.

Han Lee and Junmyung Lee were arrested Wednesday morning and will appear in federal court in Boston on Nov. 8. James Lee was arrested in the Central District of California and will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. 

According to the charging documents, from at least July 2020, the defendants operated an interstate prostitution network with multiple brothels in Cambridge and Watertown, Mass., as well as in Fairfax and Tysons, Va. 

It is alleged that the defendants collectively established the infrastructure for brothels in multiple states which they used to persuade, induce and entice women – primarily Asian women – to travel to Massachusetts and Virginia to engage in prostitution. 

Specifically, the defendants allegedly rented high-end apartment complexes as brothel locations, which they furnished and regularly maintained. The monthly rent for the brothel locations were as high as $3,664. It is further alleged that the defendants coordinated the women’s airline travel and transportation and permitted women to stay overnight in the brothel locations so they did not have to find lodging elsewhere, therefore enticing women to participate in their prostitution network. 

The defendants allegedly advertised their prostitution network primarily on two websites – and – which offered appointments with women in either greater Boston or eastern Virginia, respectively. Both websites purported to advertise nude Asian models for professional photography at upscale studios as a front for prostitution offered through appointments with women listed on their websites. The websites listed the height, weight and bust size of women available for appointments and depicted nude and/or semi-nude photographs of each. The women listed as available on the websites updated frequently, with updates to include “coming soon” or “open” to reflect an impending arrival of new women arriving in the area. 

Each website allegedly described a verification process that interested sex buyers undertook to be eligible for appointment bookings– including requiring clients complete a form providing their full names, email address, phone number, employer and reference if they had one.

It is further alleged that the defendants maintained local brothel phone numbers which they used to communicate with verified customers and schedule appointments via text message. In these text message exchanges, the defendants allegedly sent customers a “menu” of available options at the brothel, including the women and sexual services available and the hourly rate. Additionally, the defendants allegedly texted customers directions to the brothel’s location – a high-end apartments – where they engaged in commercial sex with the women. 

According to the charging documents, the defendants charged sex buyers a premium price for appointments with the women advertised on their websites, which ranged from approximately $350 to upwards of $600 per hour depending on the services and were paid in cash. The defendants allegedly concealed the proceeds of the prostitution network through depositing hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash proceeds into their personal bank accounts and peer-to-peer transfers. Additionally, it is alleged that the defendants regularly used hundreds of thousands of dollars of the cash proceeds from the prostitution business to purchase money orders (in values under an amount that would trigger reporting and identification requirements) to conceal the source of the funds. These money orders were then used to pay for rent and utilities at brothel locations in Massachusetts and Virginia.

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 investigation into the involvement of sex buyers is active and ongoing.

Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case should contact

The charge of conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Michael J. Krol, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England; and Cambridge Police Commissioner Christine Elow made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Central District of California; the Eastern District of Virginia; the U.S. Postal Service; and the Watertown Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey E. Weinstein of the Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Raquelle Kaye, of the Asset Recovery Unit are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

32 thoughts on “Three Busted in National Prostitution Ring That Used a High-End Apartment in Watertown

  1. Stop making Watertown infamous. Prior to 2013, no one ever heard of Watertown. Ever! It wasn’t even in top places to live in Mass. It wasn’t even a hidden gem. That moniker always went to places like Weston, Hopkinton and Melrose. Unfortunately, the Marathon Bombing put us on the map. And now this is being blasted across the nation. Get ready, housing demand is going to go up!

    Plus, this is another reason for a wealth tax and higher income tax rates on the top 10%. Too much money floating around at the top and too little money circulating at the bottom leads to a perfect storm of debauchery. Every time!

    • Seems like the field hockey team is doing their part to make Watertown known for positive reasons.

      Kudos to Eileen Donahue and all her Raiders.

      • Wow, you and I are on the same page for once !!! Awesome job Eileen and the Raiders…
        And we just had a local artist nominated for Grammy ! All good stuff.

      • Dittos to Joe’s Comments. I don’t have a young lady, but we have been so proud of their achievements for years. I don’t know Eileen’s Formula other than hard work. She needs to Coach the Patriots on the side.

      • All good news, and congrats to the Field Hockey program and Noah Kahan! I still don’t want Watertown to be known – infamously or famously.

        • Are you kidding me? You’re actually talking about field hockey in this thread? The woman being sold as sex slaves were most likely as young as the field hockey girls. Watertown has a huge problem right now and being infamous is the least of our worries There was a little girl in Fall River just last month who was grabbed by a man as she swung on the monkey bars at a local playground! I know the mother!!! Our children- and that includes the girls on the field hockey team- are in huge danger right now. This brothel did not just happen to land here in Watertown. This took a lot of time, a HUGE amount of money and was very well planned out. Wake up people, the human traffic industry is in our own back yard!!

  2. Well. . .there goes some folks’ theory about debauchery decay centering around Watertown Square!

    We let them build these high end apartments and the high end, high tech brothels move in with their high end Johns.

    • Imagine that! It can happen anywhere, would a retraction on the Square’s seediness be required, I for one would think so!

          • Agree.

            “ If you have the law, hammer the law. If you have the facts, hammer the facts. If you have neither the law nor the facts, hammer the table”

            Someone is hammering the table here.

        • Like Barney Frank. Oh, wait a moment.

          And GOP politicians in MA? Really. Same goes to the GOP professors – that would be a rara avis.

    • Or we build for more denser high rise buildings. Harder to conduct such activity when there are more units on the floor. I mean the same could be said of single family houses – no ever knows what goes on behind closed doors.

    • Evidently there are folks who don’t understand making a point through humor. It’s called irony. There have been complaints about the shabbiness of Watertown Square and allegations of illicit businesses there. And then this scandal emerges in the newest and toniest digs in town.

        • Joe, yourself Eric and I get the humor and irony of it. On the subject of “reading slowly may help” when there’s a massive ego involved that believes there is only one view his own, that descends down upon our fair City, to enlighten us, not realizing that nobody nor anyone ever asked for this unwanted expertise, we’ve done just fine since you left on our own. So the “reading slowly” would not help in this case, it’s too far gone to save!

          • You are free to ignore my posts and not be triggered by them. Or will I get another threatening phone call?

    • Agreed. Not overdevelopment can’t be a problem. And I’m generally pro development.
      But this isn’t the first time there have been prostitution busts. I can recall such busts in the last 10 – 15 years. They busted several “Massage Parlors” about 10 years ago I think, One was above the Bicycle place on Galen over by Bertucci’s and there were a few others in the bust. More recently there was bust of place on Waverly by the corner of Orchard Street.

      When I was dispatching for McCue’s the drivers would tell me about the working girls working out of the old Super 8. They’d call for cab when they’d need to go to “client.” I’d the call in the office for girls at the Super 8 needing a cab to take them to another hotel in Boston. So this has been going on for years. There is a reason the call it the oldest business in the world.

      That’s not to condone it. Just saying I don’t see a correlation between new development and this activity. It’s like saying that a increase in the stork population coinciding with an increase in births, means that storks deliver babies.

  3. OK, I’m in on the joke …. THIS is what happens when we build high-end housing???? I agree with Rita – the denser the housing, the more discouragement of loud hhmmmm behavior.

    P.S. Perhaps those “massage” businesses in Watertown Square are fishy…

    • I’m not sure that density has any impact at all. In fact this case would tend to disprove that. This can and does happen everywhere. It’s just funny when the well heeled get get their high end tuchuses busted. I can’t wait to see the pillars of the community who are on the client list.

      What’s not funny is human trafficking or coercion of any sort. But as long as there are men who can afford to pay, it is likely that this business will be with us.

      Are you sure that those businesses in the Square are “fishy”? If they are obviously so, why haven’t the police raided them? We have a quite legit massage business in my end of town.

    • Thanks Kathi!

      My aim was to illustrate that Watertown is no longer a small town of European ethnic enclaves that others bypass. Due to our infamy/celebrity, we don’t live in the shadow of Boston/Cambridge or our more tonier western neighbors. People want in, hence increased demand.

      The supply/demand root cause isn’t salient because supply suddenly shrunk in the early 90s with the introduction of more stringent zoning. Meanwhile, demand has exploded continuously and very loudly. Events such as the influx of highly skilled immigrants from the former USSR and India, early 2000 mortgage lending “practices,” the end of rent control in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville, the growth of bio-tech, refugee resettlements, etc. make demand the “problem.” So you can cut demand drastically or plan for density at a very high rate and profound reform of zoning to bring the supply/demand equilibrium point down the price curve – increase supply to meet the great demand.

      As for the debauchery, it is a tax/money problem, policy problem, corruption problem and proximity problem. We live near very powerful people with very deep pockets who can easily access and use arbitrage. The top 5% income threshold for Massachusetts is $547,000. In the majority of the US states, that is the 1% income threshold – our 1% income threshold is $903,000. If you don’t think that this heinous activity isn’t occurring in gated communities, suburban cul-de-sacs, nice hotels, on yachts and jets, then surprise! Wherever it is happening, it’s all very bad.

      • Rita – I think we’re saying the same thing in different ways. If you drift up to the 30,000-foot-view…. supply/demand balance is a root cause … not enough supply, for many reasons) vs. a recent significant increase in demand (for other reasons). The net result is that our housing market is out of balance at all price points. Any new housing that is built will add to supply and generally mitigate upward price pressure. However, building new housing will not solve *all* problems (some people seem to expect quick solutions where there are none).

        • Absolutely we are saying the same thing. The number of units need is a lot – more than people can fathom. Converting existing houses/building will also help to increase the number of unit. However, we tackle supply it will be a long term effort. Tackling demand is only a fool’s errand.

  4. So, there was sex that involved “an apartment in Watertown and allegedly included politicians, high-tech and pharmaceutical executives, professors, doctors and lawyers”… so ordinary people? I’m not an expert on the difference between sex therapy and prostitution except that the money seems very very high for therapy. Then again, with the cost of health care being what it is maybe it’s not.
    While the story alludes to some people using and taking advantage of other people, I would not judge these people before I know all the facts. There are many people with many perspectives on what is OK around sexuality. I try and accept everyone for where they are in their personal growth ans life experience, though I do miss the simpler sounding days of the old cookie factory. I’m guessing there was some of the same going on then as well.

  5. Watertown just had an election where only ONE candidate challenged any of the current nine City Council members at the polls. There are so many comments here about development, both pro and con, but apparently little or no interest in being at the table where these decisions are being made.

    Who is laughing now?

  6. I have two comments:
    – Why are we allowing new and converted buildings to become labs when we so desperately need housing? This is counter productive.
    – Reportedly, the accused, Hana Lee, was locking her “girls” in the apartments. That’s abuse and human trafficking.

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