According to reports, the couple were luring Telugu actresses to the United States and “advertising” them through messaging platforms for sex at Indian conferences and cultural events there.
The reports quote a 42-page complaint filed with the district court in Chicago saying that the couple charged clients up to $3000. The police have also found that the couple had brought actresses on temporary visas and had even forced them, at times five actresses, to stay in a dingy two-storied apartment in Belmont Cragin.
The actresses were taken to meet clients at conferences in Dallas, New Jersey and Washington, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
The key suspect, the reports said, was a businessman who slowly climbed the ladder in Tollywood and went on to co-produce several hit movies.
Newspaper reports say he had allegedly threatened one of the actresses after she was about to blow the whistle on the racket. Police records said the producer had threatened the actress that “it would be nothing for him to harm her if she talked to the police about him because she is small and unknown, not a big actress.”
A report in the Tribune quoted the police that he had also said he had a copy of her passport with her family’s name and address on it.
Police said they had recovered from the producer’s emails a note from the victimised actress, with her begging him to stop harassing and threatening her.
“Please do not call me and don’t try to contact me,” she wrote, according to the Tribune. She also wrote that it was “very unpleasant doing business” with him and that she would be forced to make a formal complaint if he tried to contact her again.
The couple’s two children are in the custody of child welfare officials in Virginia while the husband and wife are in federal custody.