Torrance man arrested as part of trio operating high-end brothel on East Coast


A 68-year-old Torrance man was one of three men arrested Wednesday for allegedly operating a high-end brothel network out of apartment complexes in Massachusetts and Virginia.

James Lee of Torrance, along with 30-year-old Junmyung Lee and 41-year-old Han Lee, both from Massachusetts, have been charged with conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sex activity.

"This commercial sex ring was built on secrecy and exclusivity, catering to wealthy and well-connected clientele," acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Joshua Levy said in a news conference in Boston.

The trio allegedly operated through two websites, reporting to advertise nude Asian models for professional photography at upscale studios as a front for prostitution.

Prosecutors said they rented high-end apartments in Cambridge, Watertown, and eastern Virginia and used them as brothels. The rent for some apartments was as high as $3,664 a month. 

Appointments cost $350 to $600 an hour and were paid in cash, according to Levy. Investigators said clients had to fill out a form with their name, work information, email address, phone number, and a reference before they could book appointments. Customers were then given a "menu" of options at the brothel.

"They are doctors, they are lawyers, they're accountants, they are executives at high-tech companies, pharmaceutical companies, they're military officers, government contractors, professors, scientists," Levy said of the brothels' customers. "Pick a profession, they're probably represented in this case."

Han Lee and Junmyung Lee will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Boston. Lee was arrested in California and will be brought to Boston for his arraignment. Levy said that starting as far back as July 2020, the three operated multiple brothels in multiple states by enticing primarily Asian women to travel to Massachusetts and Virginia to be prostitutes.

"Business is booming, until today," Levy told reporters, adding that the investigation is far from over.

If convicted, each of the three could face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.


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