News/US: Landlord's Pal Charged in Teens' Smuggling

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Subject: News/US: Landlord's Pal Charged in Teens' Smuggling
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Apr 17 2000 - 09:28:16 EDT


Landlord's Pal Charged in Teens' Smuggling
Henry K. Lee
San Francisco Chronicle, March 17, 2000

BERKELEY -- A man who posed as the father of two Indian sisters poisoned by
carbon monoxide was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday on charges
of smuggling them in with the help of a Berkeley landlord and his son.

Venkateswara Vemireddy was charged with two counts of helping bring aliens
illegally into the United States from India. He was also indicted on a
charge of conspiring with Berkeley landlord Lakireddy Bali Reddy, 62, and
his son, Vijay Lakireddy, 30, to smuggle the teenage sisters by submitting
false visa applications.

Vemireddy, a civil engineer, has not been arrested and could not be reached
for comment yesterday.

Reddy, Berkeley's wealthiest landlord, has already been indicted on federal
charges that he brought young Indian girls to Berkeley for sex and cheap
labor. Reddy and his son also face charges of submitting false visa
applications that allowed them to import the girls.

Two girls who arrived from India last summer, 17-year-old Chanti Prattipati
and her 15-year-old sister, were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes in
November in a Bancroft Way apartment where authorities said Reddy had sex
with them. Prattipati died accidentally from the gas, and her sister survived.

Authorities said Reddy met Vemireddy in India and lent him and his sister
$6,500 to come to the United States while acting as husband and wife and as
parents of the two teenagers, who were brought to Berkeley under assumed
names.

In exchange, Lakireddy, the owner of the software company Active Tech
Solutions in Berkeley, allegedly submitted a fraudulent visa application in
March 1998 that allowed Vemireddy to come to the United States last April,
purportedly to work as a company analyst. Instead, Vemireddy worked at
Reddy's restaurant in Berkeley, authorities said.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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