Many of you may have come across some news items recently about federal agents prosecuting a Telugu couple in Chicago on charges of visa fraud and organizing a prostitution racket. In reporting this news, some media outlets implied that these activities were somehow connected with the cultural activities conducted by Telugu organizations in USA.
Telugu Association of North America (TANA) has had no association with the individuals charged in this case. TANA, the oldest, largest and most reputed Telugu organization in USA, does not hire agents to invite Telugu people of distinction to its functions and activities. We will continue to ensure that our procedures and practices do not allow anyone to use our name illegally and will prosecute as needed if we learn of such instances. We will do everything in our power to safeguard the trust and respect we earned from the Telugu community worldwide.
It appears that the individuals charged in this case have forged documents creating fake invitation letters, some of them on TANA’s name, to help people obtain US visas fraudulently. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is investigating this and we have been talking and fully cooperating with DHS agents and have assisted them in confirming the forgeries and fake documents. Media reports and news items indicating anything otherwise are wrong. We would like to make clear that the complaint filed in Court clearly says that the law enforcement agents have talked with the President of TANA and confirmed the forged and fraudulent nature of the documents.
We are appalled and saddened to learn about these activities. On behalf of Telugu Association of North America and the Telugu community of North America, I strongly condemn such nefarious, illegal activities that bring shame to our hard working community in North America. We regret that the blatantly illegal activities of a few individuals are besmirching the reputation of the many Telugu associations in America where thousands of volunteers have been working hard to promote, preserve and propagate Telugu language and culture. We will extend our full cooperation to all investigative agencies so that such illegal activities are rooted out, the criminals prosecuted, and the hard earned and highly deserved positive image of our US Telugu community and organizations is preserved.
We urge everyone to inform concerned authorities if they come across instances of illegal activities and let us know immediately if they see indications of TANA’s name being used inappropriately.
Thank you for your trust and cooperation.
Telugu Association of North America (TANA)