Hey, there! Log in / Register

Three charged with running high-end brothels in Cambridge, Dedham and Watertown, using women flown in from Las Vegas and Los Angeles

Seized domain notice on Boston-area Web site

No sale: Visitors to brothel Web site today were greeted by seizure statement.

Federal officials today announced the arrest of two Korean nationals and a Korean-American on charges they ran a series of brothels in newer high-end apartments both here and in northern Virginia, following an investigation that began in 2020 that involved stake-outs, phone surveillance, rooting through trash and interviews with customers.

Those customers, who signed up for specific women and specific sexual practices via online forms and menus included "politicians, pharmaceutical executives, doctors, military officers, government contractors that possess security clearances, professors, lawyers, business executives, technology company executives, scientists, accountants, retail employees, and students" according to an affidavit by an FBI agent on the case, unsealed this week in US District Court in Boston.

Although the affidavit describes interviews with some of the customers, none were named.

I do not do this for purposes of maintaining their anonymity, but instead do so because our investigation into their involvement in prostitution is active and ongoing.

Han "Hana" Lee, of Cambridge, Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham and James Lee, 68, of Torrance, CA were charged with conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

Among the apartments they allegedly rented were newer units in complexes on 90 Fawcett St. and 80 Cambridgepark Dr. near the Alewife T stop in Cambridge, 66 Bond St. near the Arsenal Yards mall in Watertown and 71 Legacy Blvd. near Legacy Place in Dedham.

As part of their efforts to make tracking them harder - which the FBI says the failed at - they typically paid their monthly rents with USPS or Western Union money orders.

Customers would first pay $119 for a six-month membership in an online-ID system catering to brothels, then would log on at a specific site for the Boston-area or northern Virginia brothels. After selecting from a rotating selection of women, they would then get a text message with fees for different types of amenities - all of which included free before and after showers, according to the affidavit - which says most customers availed themselves of the post-sex shower and which explains some of the terms:

Menu of services

I am aware that the reference above to "BB" is a term in the prostitution industry that refers to sex without a condom, as evidenced by the Boston Brothel Phone clarifying in its subsequent text of "(BB = without CD"). I am also aware that "GFE" refers to "GirlFriend Experience" which provides a more intimate experience and blurs the boundaries between a financial transaction and a romantic relationship. Generally speaking, when hen the customers arrived at the apartment unit, they did not knock; the door was opened by an Asian female inside who was expecting them. Typically, the Asian female who opened the door was the individual they made the appointment to meet. The customers provided a cash payment (in an amount confirmed in an earlier text message with the brothel phone, usually based on the duration and type of service) to the Asian female in the apartment. The customers removed their shoes and were escorted by the Asian female to the bedroom, where the customers undressed, and were accompanied into an attached bathroom. There, they were offered to use mouthwash; they were offered a shower with or without the Asian female; and they then returned to the bedroom to engage in sex with that female using a condom that she provided.

Based on interviews, the customers typically spent between $350 and $600 per session - which the affidavit states is "a premium price compared to standard rates for commercial sex being offered in the area.

The affidavit continues that while the working women were not beaten or physically threatened, the three still used a number of techniques to keep them in line once they flew into Boston and were ferried to one of the locations:

Some of the tactics include, but are not limited to, delivering food to females so they do not have to exit the building and spend time away from the apartment, ensuring the unit is prepared before the arrival of a female, and assisting females with their luggage into the brothel units, and subsequently locking the door behind them after exiting. Specifically, on January 3, 2023, HAN was observed via a publicly accessible surveillance camera assisting a female into 90 Fawcett Street, Unit 435 (Target Location #5). After shutting the door, HAN locked the door behind her before departing. I believe HAN utilized this tactic so that the commercial sex providers felt that they had to stay in the unit to perform sex acts for cash on behalf of the prostitution network.

Similarly, on October 23, 2023, agents stopped a commercial sex customer who was visiting 66 Bond St, Watertown, MA, that is, Target Location 7. At this time, I believe JUNMYUNG to be the holder of the Boston Brothel Phone, which the customer was communicating with to set up date. Agents reviewed the messages between the customer and the Boston Brothel Phone and observed the following text message: "Only GFE Services, No BB Services!! Do Not Share with her that we are offerings [sic] Extra Services!!" I believe this message to mean that the services offered are predetermined, and not subject to negotiation by the commercial sex worker. This message is expressly provided to customers, presumably without the knowledge of the female, in order to keep her out of the negotiations for the price of sex.

The affidavit describes the rotating selection of women - who would often fly between Boston and northern Virginia:

The women available for sale on the website are updated frequently. For example, on January 15, 2023, the website contained measurements for and nude and/or semi-nude photographs of "Dana," "Vera," "Roya," and "Minky." On June 3, 2023, the website contained measurements for and nude and/or semi-nude photographs of "Dana," "Gisella," "Minhee," and "Tiki." On October 4, 2023, the website contained measurements for and nude and/or semi-nude photographs of "LA Sera," "East Rose," "Jiwoo," and "Phila."

The affidavit continues this was not so much a control measure as good business:

Having a frequent rotation of females keeps demand, and therefore profits, high because new commercial sex workers provide a new experience for the sex buyer.

Investigators used a variety of techniques to track the three and what they were up to, and got some help from Cambridge Police:

For example, on December 6, 2022, HAN was observed leaving her residence (Target Location 1) and walking her three dogs to 90 Fawcett Street, Unit 109 (Target Location 4). On January 3, 2023, at approximately 10:54 a.m., video surveillance at 90 Fawcett in a publicly accessible hallway showed HAN approach Unit 435 (Target Location 5) carrying a suitcase. An unknown Asian female was walking behind her. HAN opened the door to Target Location 5 utilizing a key and led the Asian female inside. At approximately 12:39 p.m., HAN exited Target Location 5, shut the door behind her, and used a key to lock the door from the outside. I believe the unknown Asian female remained inside the unit. HAN subsequently departed. On January 4, 2023, at approximately 5:25 p.m., agents conducting surveillance at 90 Fawcett Street observed an Asian female leave 90 Fawcett Street. Approximately ten minutes later at 5:35 p.m., agents observed this same Asian female enter a nearby animal hospital and meet up with HAN and HAN's three dogs. At around 5:51 p.m., a Cambridge Police officer approached HAN and the female to confirm their identifications. HAN provided her Korean passport bearing her name and photograph. The unknown female was identified as well.

At around 6:30 p.m., agents observed a different Asian female exit Unit #435 of 90 Fawcett Street (Target Location 5) and discard a bag of trash. Investigators located the same trash bag at the bottom of the trash chute on the first floor. Agents conducted a trash pull of the discarded bag which revealed, among other things, an H-Mart grocery store receipt in an amount over $200 and a JetBlue Airlines boarding pass for Flight 688 from LAX to BOS dated January 2, 2023 for an Asian female passenger, and a baggage receipt sticker for the same individual. I believe this Asian female traveled from Los Angeles to Boston to engage in prostitution on behalf of Boston Top Ten's prostitution business. I further believe that she was enticed to travel from Los Angeles to Boston because all other aspects of the commercial sex service were provided to her. These aspects include, but are not limited to, room and board, the discrete location of a high-end apartment complex where she is to engage in commercial sex for a fee, food and grocery delivery, advertisements posted to a clientele base that communicates directly with the facilitator without the commercial sex worker having to communicate with customers, and cash payments for the sex at a higher rate.

The affidavit describes Han Lee as a Korean national who came here on a tourist visa in 2014, then never left, although she applied for permanent residence in 2019 after allegedly marrying an American. She lists the Cambridgepark Drive location as her home address. Jummyoung Lee, who lists the Dedham location as his address, came here in 2018 on a student visa, ostensibly to attend a the Computer Systems Institute, which offers classes in Brighton and Charlestown.

Innocent, etc.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 
Free tagging: 
AttachmentSize
PDF icon Complete affidavit894.92 KB


Ad:


Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

It may look close on the map, but there is no way to walk across the railroad tracks other than the Route 16 bridge, which requires backtracking all the way to Concord Avenue near Trader Joe's.

up
Voting closed 0

Which is a really cool furniture store with lots of high end, custom stuff. Worth a visit even if you don't have the cash ($$$) for their products. Nice people too.

Every time I see another condo development go up I worry that places like that and Anderson & McQuaid will soon be gone.

/tourguide

up
Voting closed 0

 

up
Voting closed 0

No.

up
Voting closed 0

Back in the old days, when BBN had offices on Fawcett St and at Alewife, some enterprising employees, tired of the long walk around, took a bolt cutters to the fence, establishing a shortcut that lasted for a short while. At some point they were caught by railway police, who were amused by the novelty of having a bunch of PhD scientists in custody. I never heard the final resolution but I believe there was no evidence as to who actually cut the fence.

And yeah, trespassing on railway tracks is stupid and more dangerous than most people think, in that a fast approaching train doesn’t project a lot of noise out the front.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm shocked that politicians are on the list. I'm more shocked that Police aren't on the list.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm more shocked that Police aren't on the list.

I wonder if who makes the list has something to do with that.

up
Voting closed 0

Really?

up
Voting closed 0

Really.

up
Voting closed 0

.

up
Voting closed 0

the FBI and the cops hate each other :-)

up
Voting closed 0

The Met and the local constabulary work the same way in the UK. Novelists don’t tell porkies.

up
Voting closed 0

"Student visa" and "tourist visa?" You just know ICE and Homeland Security are about to get shiz act together on these two!

My Hispanic background and slydexia led me to hear Jummyoung as YummyYoung... (Yummy Youngly?)

(I'll note that instances of 'Junmmyoung' well outnumbers 'Jummyoung' in the article.)

up
Voting closed 0

Waste of Tax payer dollars. Sex work is real work. Legalize it!!!!!!!

up
Voting closed 0

Human trafficking is what is going on here.

Otherwise the victims would be required to wear condoms and would not be isolated and locked in rooms in cities they might not be familiar with.

Probably paying off travel debts with interest that will never go away by risking stds.

up
Voting closed 0

Yes, it shouldn't be legal, but the main reason pimps are in control of sex workers is that the industry itself is forced underground. Criminalizing sex work is the main cause of exploitation.

up
Voting closed 0

I'll have #69

up
Voting closed 0

…. 15 year olds and incels showing an interest in Uhub.

up
Voting closed 0

The affidavit mentions that one of the owners locked the apartment doors from the outside, but it's not clear whether this locked the occupant in so that she couldn't leave. If it did, that's "false imprisonment" which is a far more serious offense than anything charged in the affidavit. (And also a violation of the fire code and maybe the apartment lease terms as well.) If it didn't, I don't see the relevance.

up
Voting closed 0

After shutting the door, HAN locked the door behind her before departing. I believe HAN utilized this tactic so that the commercial sex providers felt that they had to stay in the unit to perform sex acts for cash on behalf of the prostitution network.

The way I read it, "felt that they had to stay," suggests that they could have unlocked the door from the inside but that his manner of closing the door and immediately locking it makes it clear who is in charge and that he expects the woman to stay in there.

up
Voting closed 0

Locking the door when you leave somewhere is pretty standard practice in cities, I'd think.

up
Voting closed 0

Keys stay in hotel rooms till the last occupant leaves.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm not seeing that stated anywhere in the above summary, and there's nothing preventing someone from locking the door with one key while leaving another for the occupant.

up
Voting closed 0

…. when you stay in a hotel? The rule is generally one set for the person who registers and pays for the room. Hotels don’t like to issue too many key cards for security reasons and because guests neglect to return the extras.

Back when they used actual keys, you were encouraged to drop keys off at the front desk when going out and collecting them again on your return. I don’t think these traffickers would want to leave too much of an identification paper trail.

When I’m staying in a hotel with another person, the person remaining in the room keeps the key and locks the door after anyone leaving.

Same with many rentals. Extra keys only to tenants on the rental agreement. No extra keys for guests. Keycards for street entry that cannot be copied and sometimes the same for units.

I agree with brian that the act of locking the door when leaving is to demonstrate control. I doubt the women were locked in but if they did not have keys, they would know that if they left the building, there would be no going back without detection.

up
Voting closed 0

These were apartments, which regularly have multiple keys, and it's pretty standard when staying at someone else's apartment, that they might leave, lock the door behind them, but leave you a key (and do you really think these dudes were concerned about what the rental agreement had to say about spare keys? Come on, bro).

And even if it was a hotel, what hotel doesn't have doors that auto-lock behind them? In which case, anyone leaving a hotel room is "demonstrating control".

I'm not trying to defend the perpetrators here in any way, but I do think that many assumptions are being made, and those assumptions are notably missing the most important piece here: asking these women about their experience, and letting them speak for themselves.

up
Voting closed 0

… when you have the low down.

up
Voting closed 0

… johns at payment.

up
Voting closed 0

I can't work under these conditions at my age

up
Voting closed 0

who wants to put in the effort for 30, 90, or 120 minutes (what are these, cassettes?) with no pop?

up
Voting closed 0

I wonder if people paid extra for the Type IV High-Bias Metal options for better fidelity.

As an audiophile, I could never visit a brothel. To much infidelity, not enough warmth.

up
Voting closed 0

No Coke! Pepsi!

up
Voting closed 0

It’s tonic!

Pops are what happen in the Hatch Shell.

up
Voting closed 0