The religious leader generated income through the Hindu Temple of Georgia by charging fees to his followers in exchange for providing spiritual or related services.
In a typical transaction, a follower would agree to purchase a particular service for a set price and provide a credit card number by telephone to guarantee payment.
The leader caused the followers’ credit card numbers to be charged on multiple occasions, in excess of their agreed amount and without authorization.
False documents submitted
If the followers disputed the charges with their respective credit card companies, the leader submitted false documentation to the credit card companies in support of the unauthorized charges.
He later filed spurious lawsuits against followers who disputed his charges and manipulated audio recordings to make it sound as if the followers had agreed to the disputed charges. The manipulated audio recordings were submitted to police departments investigating criminal complaints that were lodged against him.
The income generated by the Hindu Temple through these credit card charges was used to fund the personal lifestyle of the leader and his family, who owned or controlled numerous homes and real properties, luxury vehicles, and foreign bank accounts in India.
Following a two-week jury trial, Annamalai Annamalai, a/k/a Dr. Commander Selvam, a/k/a Swamiji Sri Selvam Siddhar, was convicted on August 25, 2014, for bank fraud and tax fraud offenses.
Bankruptcy fraud charges
He was also convicted of bankruptcy fraud offenses in connection with the Hindu Temple’s petition for bankruptcy protection in August 2009. Annamalai concealed assets from creditors and others by diverting credit card receipts and donations intended for the Hindu Temple to a bank account in the name of a different entity.
Annamalai was also convicted of money laundering for using proceeds from the bankruptcy fraud to pay mortgages on properties that he owned and making payments to himself.
Annamalai was also convicted on three counts of obstruction and false statements in connection with the grand jury investigation and the bankruptcy proceeding. Annamalai transmitted a fraudulent e-mail to an IRS agent, which was falsely made to appear as if the e-mail had been written and authored by a witness of the criminal investigation. He also submitted a false affidavit to the grand jury, and a false affidavit to the bankruptcy court in connection with the Hindu Temple’s bankruptcy proceeding.
Finally, Annamalai was convicted of conspiring with his spouse and others to conceal the arrest of co-defendant Kumar Chinnathambi.
Annamalai Annamalai, 49, of Baytown, Texas, was sentenced to 27 years, three months in prison.
Chinnathambi, 34, of Baytown, Texas, was later arrested and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud on July 17, 2014. He will be sentenced at a later date.