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Monday, July 23, 2018

3 hrs 2 times 2500$: In Chicago, details emerge of Andhra actors caught in flesh trade

Kishan had stated that he was in the Indian film industry and wanted to travel to the US to make contacts and receive an award from a Telugu association. He got a six-month visa and travelled to Chicago on April 6, 2015, but never left the country.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad | Updated: June 29, 2018 10:59:03 am
Indian-origin couple held in US for running prostitution ring The couple has been in US federal custody since their arrest in late April. (Reuters Photo/ Representation Purpose)

Individual D: I am not rich. I cant effort (afford) thousands of dollars. Something reasonable.

Chandrakala: what is your budget.

Individual D: same last time rate. I did 2 times with tall girl south indian you came to drop her at comfort inn

Chandrakala: 3 hrs 2 times 2500$

These are part of a cache of cellphone text transcripts in an affidavit filed at the Illinois district court by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to support a criminal complaint against an Indian couple accused of running a prostitution racket in Chicago involving at least five women actors from the Telugu movie industry.

The 41-page affidavit against Kishan Modugumudi and Chandrakala Purnima Modugumudi states that they forged letterheads of reputed organisations registered in the US, such as Telugu Association of South California (TASC) and North America Telugu Society (NATS), to ensure short-term visas for the actors between May 11, 2017, and January 22, 2018.

Also read | Suddenly rich, out-of-work actors raised suspicion about sex racket, say Telugu film insiders

The HIS, which is an investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, also informed the court that Kishan and Chandrakala had been arrested by US Border Patrol on January 23, 2018, in a separate case of overstaying after their visas had expired. They were released on bond from immigration custody on February 23, it said.

According to the affidavit filed on April 30, the first red flag in the prostitution racket went up when a woman arrived at Chicago O’Hare International Airport from New Delhi on November 20 and presented a B1/B2 visa, claiming to be an actor. Officials realised that the visa — generally issued for short-term use including business, medical treatment and tourism — had been issued for an event on November 18.

The 41-page affidavit against Kishan Modugumudi and Chandrakala Purnima Modugumudi states that they forged letterheads of reputed organisations registered in the US The 41-page affidavit against Kishan Modugumudi and Chandrakala Purnima Modugumudi states that they forged letterheads of reputed organisations registered in the US.

The affidavit states that the visa was obtained on November 6 at the US Embassy in New Delhi, where the woman submitted a document claiming that she wanted to visit the US to be felicitated at a TASC event. It includes this noting attached to the visa application: “film actress to Telugu Association Start Night in CA. Will stay for 10 days.’’

When investigators contacted TASC, the affidavit states, they were informed that the event was over and that the actor had not been invited. The actor had also presented a letter from NATS inviting her to a conference to be hosted on November 25 at Renaissance Convention Centre in Schaumburg, Illinois. But NATS office-bearers told agents that they were not organising any conference. Representatives of both the associations told agents that they had never even heard of the actor before.

On questioning, the affidavit states, the actor revealed that the letters were sent to her by “Raju’’ and handed over his mobile number and email id. It was then that investigators traced the “forged letters” to Kishan and Chandrakala, the affidavit states.

READ | Tollywood producer arrested for running high-end prostitution ring in US: report

“The Modugumudis purchased airline tickets and hotel rooms for the victims, harboured the victims either at the Modugumudi residence in Chicago, Illinois, or at hotel rooms across the country and would take the victims to Telugu and other Indian conferences held across the US for purposes of identifying potential customers who would pay the Modugumudis in order for the customers to engage in commercial sex acts with the victims,’’ the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, the evidence listed by the HSI in its affidavit includes:

* Travel records and statements from victims that directly or indirectly show that the Modugumudis enabled their travel to the US.

* Statement of a customer acknowledging the purchase of a commercial sex act at a Chicago area hotel with an Indian actor offered by Chandrakala.

* Statements from a victim that Chandrakala brought men to her hotel room for commercial sex acts.

* Text messages from Modugumudis demonstrating multiple conversations between them and customers believed to be advertising and arranging for commercial sex acts.

* Ledgers from the Modugumudi residence that indicate prostitution dates and payments for victims.

* Records tracing two cellphone numbers of the actors to Kishan Modugumudi, and the credit card used to book airline tickets and hotel rooms to Chandrakala.

* Notes alongside visa applications of victims A, B, C, D. They describe victim A as a model, victims B and C as actors visiting the US to attend functions, victim D as an anchor, and victim E as a “Telugu and Kanada major actress”.

Describing the other case against the Modugumudis, the affidavit states that Kishan’s visa application was rejected twice in 2014 for submitting fraudulent documents.

Kishan had stated that he was in the Indian film industry and wanted to travel to the US to make contacts and receive an award from a Telugu association. He got a six-month visa and travelled to Chicago on April 6, 2015, but never left the country.

Chandrakala went to Chicago on August 11, 2015, on a six-month visa, which she got extended in February 2016. Her second request for extension was denied but she never left the US. Both were arrested in Tiffin, Ohio, this year.

The affidavit states that on February 16, 2018, officials searched the residence of Modugumudis in Chicago and found 70 condoms in multiple ziplock bags, forged permanent resident cards and social security cards and forged letters from the American Telugu Association to the US Consulate General in Hyderabad requesting visas.

Among the other documents recovered from their possession was a handwritten note on Marriott Hotel stationery with the name of victim D and Washington DC written next to it. It had an arrow with “room 207” written at the pointed end, and another with “2 times’’, “January 19 venkat’’. There were more arrows drawn, pointing to “room 404”, “1 time’’ “January 20 Dayegano room 404’’ and “Jan 20 one event DC. 1000 $ money.’’

The affidavit states that these are handwritten records of acts of prostitution performed by victim D in January 2018.

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