Three individuals who were previously arrested and charged in November 2023 in connection to a high-end brothel network operating out of the greater Boston area and eastern Virginia were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Boston.
The three defendants, Han Lee, aka “Hana,” 41, of Cambridge, Mass.; James Lee, 68, of Torrance, Calif.; and Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, Mass. 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.
In the charging documents, federal prosecutors allege that the three defendants operated an interstate prostitution network beginning as early as July 2020, with brothels in Cambridge and Watertown, Mass., as well as in Fairfax and Tysons, Va.
The three defendants are accused of persuading, inducing and enticing “primarily Asian women” to travel to Mass. and Va. to engage in prostitution.
The federal indictment further alleges that the defendants rented and maintained high-end apartment complexes to function as brothel locations, where they would establish “house rules” for the women 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 proceeds of the prostitution network were allegedly concealed by the defendants through depositing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash into their personal bank accounts, peer-to-peer transfers, and making money orders to fund the brothel locations.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts:
“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.”
The three defendants face a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 for the prostitution charge
On the money laundering charge, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $500,000 fine — or twice the value of the laundered funds, whatever is greater.