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Witness: Hindu leader 'big cheater'

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The Hindu leader with the super hero name felt the wrath of a tiny Indian woman in federal court.

The FOX 5 I-Team first investigated the man who likes to call himself Dr. Commander, the leader of the now-defunct Hindu Temple of Georgia. He's accused of dozens of federal crimes including money laundering and bank fraud. His real name is Annamalai Annamalai.

The original investigation in 2008 focused on Dr. Commander's interest in money and expensive tastes, highly unusual for a Hindu spiritual leader.

He left Georgia soon after. Since November, though. he's been back in federal custody in Atlanta, facing some surprisingly determined critics.

"He is a big cheater in the world. He doesn't know anything. He's not a priest. He's acting like a priest. And he is sucking everybody's money." Thilaka Pillai said. She flew in from New Jersey to testify. At only 5 feet tall, she many not seem like the type to face off with a powerful religious leader. Read on to see just how committed she is.

Dr. Commander is accused of using the Hindu Temple of Georgia as a way to ring up unauthorized credit card charges. Many disillusioned followers have come forward over the years, claiming they only provided a credit card number for a few hundred dollars worth of services but wound up with thousands in charges.

Like Thilaka Pillai. She testified that she made the mistake of answering a magazine ad for the Hindu Temple of GA, hoping to get spiritual help for her unwed niece.

She says she authorized a $251 credit card charge over the telephone. The Temple added another $3006.

When she disputed the charges, Dr. Commander sued her. Multiple times. In fact, he continued suing her when he moved his operation to Ohio and then to Texas. Ms. Pillai had to hire attorneys in all three states to defend herself. She testified she's spent $25,000 in legal fees.

"He said he will destroy me. I will drain you until your money is gone. And I will torture you like that." Ms. Pillai said outside the courtroom.

Dr. Commander drove fancy cars and once lived in the Sugarloaf Country Club. His defense attorneys argue that all religions require money and many credit card problems were ultimately resolved in favor of the customer. That's what happened to Ms. Pillai.

Over the years, others also flew to Georgia determined to fight similar legal battles. In Gwinnett County alone, Dr. Commander or his staff have filed two dozen lawsuits. But even when the defendants win, Ms. Pillai said on the stand... they still lose so much time and money.

In fact, on Friday she says Dr. Commander tried to have her served with yet another lawsuit.

She's determined to see him locked up for good and ultimately deported back to India.

"If you have the will power and the gods' blessings you can stand up." she said as she headed back home to New Jersey. "I'm more strong than him. That's why I fought and I came all the way to stand up for the US government and for the justice."

 

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