Nov 8, 2023 - News

Feds bust upscale brothels in Watertown, Cambridge

Photo: Lauren Owens Lambert/Getty Images

Federal authorities took down a ring of what they're calling "high-end" brothels operating in suburban Boston and Washington D.C. yesterday.

What's happening: In court documents prosecutors allege that the prostitution ring included apartments in the Arsenal complex in Watertown and the Fresh Pond area in Cambridge.

Details: One women and two men, Han Lee of Cambridge, Junmyung Lee of Dedham and James Lee of Torrance, California were charged with conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity.

  • Prosecutors say the trio rented high-end apartment complexes to use as brothels in greater Boston, Fairfax, VA and Tysons, VA.
  • They advertised the brothels on two websites offering nude models for upscale photography studios that prosecutors say were fronts for the sex ring.
  • The charging documents say the sites advertised rates of $350-$600 per hour in cash depending on the services.

Why it matters: Investigators identified a "wide array" of buyers, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy's office, which included politicians, high tech and pharmaceutical executives, doctors, military officers, government contractors, professors and scientists.

What they're saying: "Pick a profession, and they're probably represented in this case," Levy said at a press conference yesterday, per the Boston Globe.

  • The brothel clients haven't been named publicly because an "investigation into their involvement in prostitution is active and ongoing," charging documents said.
  • Levy said the women trafficked to and from the brothels were predominantly Asian.

Note: This is a breaking news story and may be updated.


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