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Hindu swindler faces life imprisonment

Hindu swindler faces life imprisonment

Indian guru Annamalai Annamalai, above, who headed a temple in Georgia that went bust in 2009, is facing a life sentence for swindling his devotees out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Annamalai was convicted last August on 34 felony charges, including bank fraud and money laundering, and is now awaiting a prison sentence.

At his latest court appearance last month prosecutors presented a witness from New York who said that she had been financially ruined by Annamalai. She said she didn’t realise he was an impostor until it was too late.

Annamalai swindled people out of money in several states, officials say.

In Georgia, he ran his operation out of the now-defunct Hindu Temple of Georgia in Norcross. They say Annamalai repeatedly charged his customers’ credit cards without their permission and would later falsify documents when those charges were challenged by victims and credit card companies.

Said Valmiki Raghunathan, who identified himself as one of Annamalai’s first victims:

This guy has no good bone in him and I’m so happy to see him where he is today in an orange jumpsuit. Every person he touched, he stung them. He found the most vulnerable of victims and preyed on them for money.

Prosecutors say Annamalai used the money to support a lavish lifestyle, including funneling money into bank accounts in India. They say he also concealed assets as he filed for bankruptcy for the Hindu Temple. In all, officials say Annamalai stole more than $2 million.

Meanwhile, in Santa Ana, California, a Buddhist monk accused of fleecing members of his congregating out of almost $100,00 dollars has reportedly hanged himself.

swindler

Firefighters found 44-year-old Dao Nguyen, above, dead at the Tu Nghiem Temple.

Detectives have identified 34 people who gave Nguyen, the head monk, between $1,100 and $7,700 for airline tickets and travel expenses for a tour of Buddhist temples throughout Vietnam. The trip was never made, and authorities estimated the loss to his followers totaled around $97,000.

Hat tip: Trevor Blake.

10 responses to “Hindu swindler faces life imprisonment”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Religion = deception. On every level.

  2. TrickyDicky says:

    And when will they be arresting the Christian swindlers?

  3. dennis says:

    @TrickyDicky I am wondering if we have enough jails. maybe we could let the small time drug folks out and put the real con-men behind the bars in their place.

  4. Maggie says:

    Is this surprising? Religions rely on the gullibility of people to hook them in the first place.

  5. Great Satan says:

    A bit ot, but as the so called war on drugs was mentioned – here is an excellent article by Sam Harris and Johan Hari ; http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/a-war-well-lost

  6. Trevor Blake says:

    It’s almost as if religions do not make a believer into an honest person, but instead a person decides to be honest (or not).

  7. Angela_K says:

    Fools and their money are easily parted, especially the religious.

  8. carlynot says:

    Pretty easy to find the most vulnerable victims. Just head down to your nearest church, synagogue, or any other religious institution and take your pick.

  9. Cali Ron says:

    @Angela K:
    I always thought the saying was “a fool and his money are some party”! HaHa. Seems the parties over for guru Annamalai and now the money has, indeed parted. Should I feel sorry for the gullible fools who gave him their money? Today I’m feeling surly, dealing with plenty of unwanted shit on my plate so hard to find any sympathy in my heart for people who willingly make themselves victims.

  10. M_Raghavan says:

    Faith and reason were hand in hand until the development of the later Western notion of blind belief as a means to Heaven/ Paradise. Returning to those roots, where faith and hope were not segregated into an “-ism” will allow society to progress without becoming anarchist or nihilistic.