by: David Ham Updated:
Dr. Eric J. Smith has taken a voluntary leave from his anesthesiology practice contracted by Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue after federal investigators served him with a warrant connected to allegations of money laundering and promoting prostitution.
A 52-page warrant details how DEA agents said Smith allegedly used upscale Bellevue condominium and apartment units as "residential brothels"
Agents documented evidence that they found, saying Smith and his girlfriend pimped women from Southeast Asia for sex for $200 an hour.
Karen Felker lives in one of the buildings investigators said was used as a brothel.
"My friend's brother went to South America to stop human trafficking,” Felker said. “There, it's an issue everywhere. To know that it's an issue right here under (and) above me, it shouldn’t happen."
DEA agents said they became suspicious of Smith in 2012 after finding he deposited thousands of dollars a day in cash at BECU ATMs.
He allegedly used a dedicated account to deposit the money connected with the prostitution ring.
About $425,000 was deposited from 2012 - 2013.
Court documents also stated that Smith had monthly paychecks deposited in the range of $20,000 to $45,000.
Agents said Smith funneled some of the money to Thai bank accounts, where some of the women came from.
Documents state that some of the women were trafficked into the United States and had to send back some of the money to pay off "debts"
A spokesperson for the Washington Department of Health said that a case number has been opened on Smith.
His license to practice medicine is still valid, but the Medical Quality Assurance Commission will decide next week if the state will take any action against his license.
DOH said usually a medical license is revoked or suspended after a conviction, but a doctor can also be reprimanded if morality issues come into play.
Smith has not been charged. He did not return our calls for comment. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said the case is still under investigation.
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