FBI agents in Miami are investigating an eye doctor who allegedly provided underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic to Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.
The Miami Herald is reporting that agents raided the West Palm Beach office of Salomon Melgen, leaving with multiple pieces of evidence. It is believed that the investigation is focused on Melgen’s finances, as well as the prostitution allegations.
Miami Special Agent Michael Leverock couldn’t comment on the specifics of the raid and the investigation at this time but said in an email that agents are conducting what he calls “law enforcement activity in the vicinity of 2521 Metrocentre Blvd., West Palm Beach, Fla.”
That is the address for Melgen’s West Palm Beach office. Melgen couldn’t be reached for a comment Wednesday. The office is closed until 8:45 a.m. Thursday.
Melgen has an outstanding $11 million IRS lien for taxes owed, according to the Miami Herald’s report.
The prostitution allegation surfaced shortly before the November election last year. That was when the Daily Caller, a right-leaning website, reported that two alleged prostitutes claimed they had sexual relations with the senator. The rumors quickly disappeared but resurfaced last week when emails revealing an alleged FBI investigation leaked online.
Menendez, according to the Daily Caller, dismissed the claims as “fallacious allegations.”
Last week, the FBI's Leverock refused to comment on that investigation or whether the emails were legitimate.
FBI spokesman Jason Pack on Friday said that the Justice Department’s policy prohibits anyone from speaking about whether there is an investigation.
In the pages of emails, a young Dominican woman, who admitted she’s a prostitute, claimed she met Menendez in 2009 at Melgen’s house in the Caribbean nation. The young woman also alleged she met the doctor at the age of 16 and “became his friend.” She alleged also that she attended parties and took “care of him, please him, being a good friend, and whenever he asked, being very kind with some of his friends ... having sex with them.”
She claimed to have met Menendez at least three times in 2009 -- first in February, then again in May and June. But according to her, she hadn’t any clue that Menendez was a United States Senator.
The U.S. State Department’s “2008 Human Rights Report: Dominican Republic” stated that prostitution is legal in that country but that there are “some prohibitions against sex with minors.” That report also noted that the Dominican government usually didn’t enforce prostitution laws, so sex tourism was a “serious problem.”
Menendez is poised to succeed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Laura is a U.S. politics reporter for the International Business Times. She was always fascinated by the BBC World News each morning on the radio in Jamaica. That, and a love...