Man charged in high-end brothel bust accused of illegally obtaining COVID-19 relief funds

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Newly obtained court documents allege one of the men charged in a high-end brothel ring reportedly based in Massachusetts illegally obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars through federal COVID-19 relief funds.

68-year-old James Lee, of California, is charged with conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity for allegedly running a “sophisticated” brothel network in Watertown, Cambridge, and Eastern Virginia.

Additionally, prosecutors say Lee fraudulently received more than $500,000 in pandemic relief funds.

High End Brothel Motion 11-8-23 by Boston 25 Desk on Scribd

Authorities allege Lee and others rented at least 5 upscale apartments to be used as brothels where buyers paid up to $600 per hour for a wide array of advertised sex acts.

Elected officials, doctors, lawyers, professors, accountants, and military officers were among a group of “high-end” clients who paid for these services, according to federal investigators.

Search warrants were executed at the following locations, according to an affidavit:

  • 80 Cambridgepark Drive, Unit 638, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • 71 Legacy Boulevard, Unit 207, Dedham, Massachusetts

  • 1031 Park Circle Drive, Torrance, California

  • 90 Fawcett Street, Unit 109, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • 90 Fawcett Street, Unit 435, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • 90 Fawcett Street, Unit 530, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • 66 Bond Street, Unit 221, Watertown, Massachusetts

  • 2985 District Avenue, Unit 245, Fairfax, Virginia

  • 1500 Westbranch Drive, Unit 649, Tysons, Virginia

Federal officials said they interviewed about 20 alleged sex buyers in connection with the yearslong investigation, and that those men described arranging to meet at various locations, including some of the “Target Locations” listed above.

The list of clientele for the illegal services has not been released.

Lee is expected to face a judge in Boston at a later date.

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