The accused ringleaders of a network of “sophisticated high-end brothels” that serviced politicians, military officials, and government contractors kept “impeccable” records of their illicit operation which netted them over a million dollars, one of the top federal investigators on the case revealed Wednesday.
The new details about the prostitution ring, which operated in luxury apartments in Massachusetts and Virginia, were included in an affidavit submitted to the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Wednesday by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Zachary Mitlitsky.
The HSI agent argued that two of the co-conspirators in the case, Han Lee and Junmyung Lee, could have access to even more funds than investigators are already aware of and thus pose a flight risk and should remain behind bars.
Han, described by Mitlitsky as the leader of the scheme, “concealed over one million dollars in prostitution proceeds,” according to the filing.
During a search of the 41-year-old’s Cambridge, Mass., apartment, Mitlitsky discovered “bulk quantities” of condoms and lubricants, lingerie, UTI and pregnancy testing kits, and fake eyelashes, as well as $22,000 in cash, dozens of gift cards, 16 cell phones and ledgers detailing the financial records of the operation, according to his affidavit.
“I believe that Han’s financial and business record keeping was impeccable,” Mitlitsky states.
“Han maintained ledgers detailing the daily activity of her brothels. At the time of the search warrant execution, one such ledger was open to a page showing the stage names, appointment dates and times and earnings of the women,” he writes, noting that one of the names listed in the ledger matched a woman allegedly pimped out online by defendants and found present at the Tysons, Va., brothel during the execution of a search warrant.
“Next to the ledger were envelopes containing bulk cash and handwritten notes with the stage names of women and a tally of their earnings,” Mitlitsky states.
The agent describes finding a Louis Vuitton shoe box at Han’s apartment which contained hundreds of well-organized money order receipts, some of which he believes could be previously unaccounted for proceeds from the operation.
Items indicative of Han’s lavish and extravagant spending habits were also found, including luxury bags and shoes from designers such as Yves St. Laurent, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, and Jimmy Choo.
Investigators also found a cell phone that Han appears to have used to communicate with the sex workers through a South Korean messaging app.
“During these communications, Han not only listed a brief description of the anticipated customers, expected sexual services and corresponding pricing, and schedule of appointments for the day but also set forth what I believe to be her house rules for commercial sex workers engaging in sex for a fee at the brothel apartments,” Mitlitsky writes, noting that Han used a photo of her pet pug dog as her profile picture.
Junmyung Lee was believed to be “in charge of booking the appointments for the sex customers,” according to Mitlitsky, who discovered $5,000 in cash, four ledgers/appointment books, and multiple computers and cell phones during a search of his Dedham, Mass., apartment.
A photograph of an appointment book included in the affidavit appears to show that at least one of the sex workers slaved for about 10 hours on Oct. 18, 2022 – from 8:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m., with a one-hour break.
“Collectively, these three photographs show that the prostitution network not only maintained meticulous daily records of their operation but also kept those records for a lengthy period of time,” Mitlitsky states.
Like Han, Junmyung, 30, also spent lavishly, according to the filing.
Authorities seized a Chevrolet Corvette belonging to Junmyung and valued at nearly $70,000, for which “a down payment was believed to have been made using prostitution proceeds.”
Deposits in Junmyung’s bank accounts totaled approximately $378,365, according to the agent. Han’s bank accounts showed approximately $965,000 in mostly cash deposits going back to December 2019.
Neither appeared to have ever worked a legitimate job in years, according to the affidavit.
“There is significant concern by investigators that Han may have control over other accounts not yet identified,” Mitlitsky writes, noting that she appears to have transferred tens of thousands of dollars to South Korean bank accounts and as many as 30 individuals – indicating that the operation may be larger than is currently known.
After Mitlitsky submitted his affidavit, lawyers for Han and Junmyung agreed Wednesday to a voluntary order of detention signed off on by Magistrate Judge David Hennessy.
Their lawyers will be able to move for their releases at a later date.
A detention hearing for a third alleged member of the prostitution ring, James Lee, 68, has not yet been scheduled.
The three were nabbed by federal authorities on Nov. 8.
The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said at the time of their arrests that the “commercial sex buyers allegedly included elected officials, high tech and pharmaceutical executives, doctors, military officers, government contractors that possess security clearances, professors, attorneys, scientists, and accountants, among others.”
“The investigation into the involvement of sex buyers is active and ongoing,” the Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office noted at the time.
No information about the identities of the prostitution ring’s alleged clients has been made public.