No Clients Have Been Charged Yet, Investigation On-Going
A news release from the U.S. Justice Department District of Massachusetts says the three defendants had multiple brothels in Massachusetts and Virginia, charging clients $350 to $600 per hour, and some even paid a monthly membership fee to be pre-cleared for sex in a process similar to TSA PreCheck, U.S. Attorney Levy said. The clients reportedly included elected officials, high tech and pharmaceutical executives, doctors, military officers, government contractors that possess security clearances, professors, lawyers, scientists and accountants.
“Pick a profession, they’re probably represented in this case,” acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Joshua Levy tells the Boston Herald. “They are the men who fueled this commercial sex ring.”
Han Lee, also known as Hana, 41, of Cambridge, Mass.; James Lee, 68, of Torrance, California; and Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, Mass., all have been charged with conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity. If convicted, the defendants could be sentenced to up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and fined as much as $250,000.
Since at least July 2020, prosecutors allege that Han Lee, 41, James Lee, 68, and Junmyung Lee, 30, ran brothels that advertised primarily Asian women under the guise that they were nude models selling their services to professional photographers. The three were charged with conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity.
The allegations mirror a sex service that for 13 years catered to Washington’s political elite, including a sitting senator. Known as the D.C. Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey was convicted of running that operation in 2008. Records of her ring included the names of 815 clients, and in 2016, Palfrey’s former lawyer said her phone records “could be relevant” to the presidential election. A judge later blocked the release of those records.
Authorities used surveillance and phone records to identify sex buyers and interviewed about 20 of them during the investigation, according to court papers. One buyer told investigators he was directed via text message to an apartment and provided a menu of women, services and the hourly rate.
Two websites advertised appointments with Asian women, and customers underwent a vetting process that included providing their driver’s license photos and employers’ names, prosecutors said. The U.S. government has seized those sites’ domains.