Recently unsealed court papers indicate the doctor is suspected of moving hundreds of thousands of dollars through his bank accounts to launder proceeds of his girlfriend's prostitution ring. The money was apparently dumped in Thai bank accounts as the prostitutes, all women recently arrived from Southeast Asia, attempted to repay the "debts" they incurred coming to the United States.
A University of Washington medical school graduate, the doctor has been working for an anesthesia provider based at Overlake Hospital. He has not been charged with a crime and is currently still licensed to practice medicine.
A Drug Enforcement Administration special agent probably expected to catch the doctor dealing prescription drugs after discovering in November 2012 that he'd been depositing huge sums at ATMs.
What the agent found was far stranger.
Writing the court, the DEA agent said the doctor was renting apartments for prostitutes, advertising their services online and laundering the money they made, lining his own pockets while doing so. The agent described the homes rented by the doctor as "residential brothels" used to house women working for his girlfriend, a prostitute herself.
Seattlepi.com does not generally publish names of suspects until they are charged. The doctor has not been charged publicly, nor has he faced sanctions from the state health department, which licenses doctors.
The DEA investigation began in November 2012, when investigators learned the doctor was depositing large amounts of cash at ATMs in Bellevue. Reviewing the doctor's accounts, investigators found numerous payments to Backpage.com.
Backpage is best known as a forum through which sex workers advertise their services. Concerns over child prostitution facilitated by the website prompted legal action against Village Voice Media, which ultimately split from the service.
Investigators found the doctor had spent nearly $11,000 on 116 advertisements posted to Backpage between May 2012 and November 2013. All pictured Asian women dressed in lingerie and offering sex for money.
According to court papers, the doctor initially used his own name posting the advertisements before adopting the alias "Jesse Blue." He is alleged to have placed the ads from his home, as well as rental properties around Bellevue and his office.
Beginning in June, King County Sheriff's Office detectives conducted a series of sting operations targeting women advertised by the doctor, the DEA agent said in court papers.
During one sting at a Bellevue apartment, a woman explained to the undercover detective posing as a "john" that she'd arrived in the United States three weeks before. She said she did so to support her family in Cambodia.
Investigators identified at least six women working as prostitutes with connections to the doctor, according to court papers. Detectives investigating another matter also claim to have seen the doctor picking up an envelope from one of the women at an upscale apartment complex in downtown Bellevue; they contend the envelope was packed with cash.
Writing the court, the DEA agent said investigators learned that at least one of the women had already paid her "debt" to a sex trafficking organization that smuggled her into the United States. She was apparently working as a pimp as well, managing other young women working as prostitutes.
The doctor was described to investigators as that woman's boyfriend. The woman apparently had as many as 10 women working for her; she was required to remit some of the profits to a sex trafficker in Thailand, who arranged to bring the women into the United States.
The proceeds, coupled with her beau's legitimate income, allowed the woman to live in luxury apartments and drive expensive cars, according to court papers. She gambled regularly - investigators say she may have had to leave Thailand due to gambling debts - and is known to have gambled $13,000 in one night at a Seattle-area casino.
"(She) would seek out American men to help finance her lifestyle," the DEA agent said in court papers, relying on a witness account.
Reviewing the doctor's bank records, investigators found he earned $20,000 to $45,000 a month. Those proceeds went to a checking account used to pay his living expenses.
Money from a second account, though, was used to pay rent on three apartments at upscale complexes in Bellevue and for ads on Backpage, the DEA agent said in the search warrant affidavit. Funds were also sent to another Bellevue woman.
Between September 2012 and June 2013, more than $310,000 flowed through the doctor's suspicious bank account, the agent continued. All but $49,000 of that money appears to have been wired to Thai bank accounts belonging to the women. The agent said the doctor had the account purely to launder money.
Federal prosecutors in Seattle have since asked that $9,100 seized from the doctor's bank accounts in February be surrendered to the government.
Writing the court late last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Cohen said the funds had been part of a money laundering scheme. As such, the government is entitled to take possession of them.
The doctor has not yet responded to the demand, which was filed in U.S. District Court at Seattle.