Suspect in ‘high-end brothel network’ ordered held pending trial
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Suspect in ‘high-end brothel network’ ordered held pending trial

Citing concerns including foreign connections and the potential existence of financial resources not yet identified by federal investigators, a judge has ordered that one of the suspects in a “sophisticated high-end brothel network” based in the Boston area be held in custody pending trial. James Lee, 68, of California, is the first of the three defendants to have a judge decide on his custody status. The other two suspects, Han Lee, 41, of Cambridge, and Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, are scheduled to have their detention hearings next week. A copy of the decision ordering James Lee’s ongoing detention was included in a set of documents released by the court on Tuesday. Acting United States Attorney Joshua Levy announced last week that the alleged brothel ring facilitated the movement of predominantly Asian women across the United States. He said the group’s customers included politicians, corporate executives, doctors, military officers, lawyers, professors and scientists who often paid a monthly fee for membership in addition to rates of $350 to $600 or more per hour for prostitution services.Investigators believe the ring may have had hundreds of customers over the years.Documents released last week in relation to James Lee’s hearing in a federal court in California revealed that investigators allege that millions of dollars more circulated through dozens of businesses that are believed to be associated with James Lee. That money allegedly included more than $550,000 in COVID-19 relief funds. >> Where was this happening? List of apartments associated with the caseIn a motion filed in support of James Lee’s ongoing detention, investigators identified a network of 83 businesses associated with the suspect. Of those entities, investigators said they analyzed bank records for 15 that were associated with James Lee and six others they believe he controlled. Another 68 businesses were identified where James Lee was a primary source or recipient of funds. Evidence of at least three additional business entities was also discovered during the execution of a search warrant at James Lee’s house, the document said. “I believe that the volume of activity in the accounts is intentional, in part to conceal and disguise the origin, source, ownership, and control of money moving through the multiple accounts,” Special Agent Zachary Mitlitsky of Homeland Security Investigations wrote. According to the document, the businesses associated with the case did not follow the usual business pattern of accepting payments from customers and making routine payments to vendors. Instead, investigators said more than $3.3 million was circulated through many of the same business entities since 2020. The document also included details of James Lee’s eight international trips over the last seven years.During the search of James Lee’s home, investigators found approximately $15,000 in cash in envelopes, ledgers, banking documents and identification in multiple names.”Given the additional business names and aliases utilized by James (Lee) that were only uncovered as a result of the search warrant executed at his residence, I believe that there are many more additional aliases, businesses, and financial accounts that law enforcement has not yet uncovered,” Mitlitsky wrote.Video below: Suspects appear in Boston federal court

Citing concerns including foreign connections and the potential existence of financial resources not yet identified by federal investigators, a judge has ordered that one of the suspects in a “sophisticated high-end brothel network” based in the Boston area be held in custody pending trial.

James Lee, 68, of California, is the first of the three defendants to have a judge decide on his custody status. The other two suspects, Han Lee, 41, of Cambridge, and Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, are scheduled to have their detention hearings next week.

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A copy of the decision ordering James Lee’s ongoing detention was included in a set of documents released by the court on Tuesday.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua Levy announced last week that the alleged brothel ring facilitated the movement of predominantly Asian women across the United States. He said the group’s customers included politicians, corporate executives, doctors, military officers, lawyers, professors and scientists who often paid a monthly fee for membership in addition to rates of $350 to $600 or more per hour for prostitution services.

Investigators believe the ring may have had hundreds of customers over the years.

Documents released last week in relation to James Lee’s hearing in a federal court in California revealed that investigators allege that millions of dollars more circulated through dozens of businesses that are believed to be associated with James Lee. That money allegedly included more than $550,000 in COVID-19 relief funds.

>> Where was this happening? List of apartments associated with the case

In a motion filed in support of James Lee’s ongoing detention, investigators identified a network of 83 businesses associated with the suspect. Of those entities, investigators said they analyzed bank records for 15 that were associated with James Lee and six others they believe he controlled. Another 68 businesses were identified where James Lee was a primary source or recipient of funds.

Evidence of at least three additional business entities was also discovered during the execution of a search warrant at James Lee’s house, the document said.

“I believe that the volume of activity in the accounts is intentional, in part to conceal and disguise the origin, source, ownership, and control of money moving through the multiple accounts,” Special Agent Zachary Mitlitsky of Homeland Security Investigations wrote.

According to the document, the businesses associated with the case did not follow the usual business pattern of accepting payments from customers and making routine payments to vendors. Instead, investigators said more than $3.3 million was circulated through many of the same business entities since 2020.

The document also included details of James Lee’s eight international trips over the last seven years.

During the search of James Lee’s home, investigators found approximately $15,000 in cash in envelopes, ledgers, banking documents and identification in multiple names.

“Given the additional business names and aliases utilized by James (Lee) that were only uncovered as a result of the search warrant executed at his residence, I believe that there are many more additional aliases, businesses, and financial accounts that law enforcement has not yet uncovered,” Mitlitsky wrote.

Video below: Suspects appear in Boston federal court

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