The Justice Department announced Wednesday that three people were arrested on charges of operating a “high-end brothel network” in Massachusetts and Virginia whose clientele included elected officials, military officers and government contractors with security clearances.
“Choose a profession,” Joshua Levy, acting U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, said of the extensive client list during a news conference in Boston. “You’re probably represented in this case.”
Levy did not name any of the brothel’s customers and noted that multiple search warrants were being executed in the case in Massachusetts, California and Virginia.
Han Lee, 41, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; James Lee, 68, of Torrance, Calif.; and Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, Massachusetts, were charged with conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity. They are expected to appear in federal court in Boston on Wednesday or at a later date.
The three people, Levy said, transported women and advertised them online to pre-approved clients from whom they could choose through multiple websites, and operated the brothels from apartments they rented.
“This case dates back to the summer of 2022, when investigators identified multiple buyers through surveillance phone records and interviews,” Levy said. “The buyers who put this ring together come from a variety of professions.”
He added: “They are doctors, they are lawyers, they are accountants, they are elected officials, they are executives of high-tech companies and pharmaceutical companies, they are military officers, government contractors, professors, scientists.” They are the men, that fuel this commercial sex ring.”
“There may be hundreds of individuals who have used these services as commercial sex buyers,” Levy said, noting that the investigation is still in its early stages.
“Supposed potential sex buyers in this program were first required to complete a survey and provide information online, including photos of their driver’s license, information about their employer, and credit card information, and they often paid a monthly fee to participate.”
According to a report, the prostitution network primarily used two websites that advertised dates with Asian women affidavit filed in court by a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations.
The agent said about 20 sex buyers were interviewed as part of the multi-year investigation. One customer described receiving a text message detailing the options available at a brothel, including the women available, sexual services, and hourly rate.
The agent said he considered the brothels to be “high quality” because the rental units were high and the “professional discipline of the sex buyers” were very high.
Customers are not named in the affidavit, the agent said, because the investigation into their involvement is “active and ongoing.”
CNN has reached out to lawyers for Junmyung Lee and Han Lee. No attorney is listed for James Lee in court records.
For more CNN news and newsletters, create an account at CNN.com