The following announcement came from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts:
Three individuals previously arrested and charged in November 2023 in connection with operating sophisticated high-end brothels in greater Boston and eastern Virginia have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston, Mass.
The following individuals have each been indicted on one count of conspiracy to persuade, induce, entice, and coerce one or more individuals to travel in interstate or foreign commerce to engage in prostitution; and one count of money laundering conspiracy:
- Han Lee, a/k/a “Hana,” 41, of Cambridge, Mass.;
- James Lee, 68, of Torrance, Calif.; and
- Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, Mass.
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. 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. According to court documents, the defendants established house rules for the women during their stays in a given city to protect and maintain the secrecy of the business and ensure that the women did not draw attention to the prostitution work inside apartment buildings.
The defendants allegedly advertised their prostitution network primarily on two websites – bostontopten10.com and browneyesgirlsva.blog – which offered appointments with women in either greater Boston or eastern Virginia, respectively. It is alleged that the defendants purchased and registered the bostontop10.com domain in August 2016. Both websites purported to advertise nude models for professional photography at upscale studios as a front for prostitution offered through appointments.
According to court documents, each website 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 alleged that the defendants persuaded the women to work for this prostitution network because the business maintained a regular customer base of men that were adequately screened, ensuring that the customers were not members of law enforcement or men who posed a risk to the safety and security of the commercial sex workers.
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 messages; send customers a “menu” of available options at the brothel, including the women and sexual services available and the hourly rate; and to text customers directions to the brothel’s location 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 also 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.
Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case should contact USAMA.VictimAssistance@usdoj.gov.
The charge of conspiracy to persuade, induce, entice, and coerce one or more individuals to travel in interstate or foreign commerce to engage in prostitution provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $500,000 fine or twice the value of funds laundered, whatever is greater. 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; Eastern District of Virginia; U.S. Postal Service; and 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.