[Stop-traffic] News/US: New Charges Filed In Berkeley Sex Case

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/US: New Charges Filed In Berkeley Sex Case
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Nov 20 2000 - 09:23:52 EST


  New Charges Filed In Berkeley
                            Sex Case
                            Five in family accused of
                            smuggling immigrants

                            Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
 

 
Thursday, October 26, 2000

                            BERKELEY -- A Berkeley landlord and
                            four relatives were charged yesterday
                            with conspiring for more than a decade
                            to smuggle into the United States at
                            least 50 Indian citizens, including
                            teenage girls who authorities say were
                            used for cheap labor and sex.

                            The criminal charges mark the
                            culmination of an investigation that
                            began after the carbon monoxide-
                            poisoning death last November of
                            17-year-old Chanti Prattipati in a
                            Berkeley apartment owned by
                            Lakireddy Bali Reddy, 63, the city's
                            wealthiest landlord.

                            Reddy, two sons, a brother and a
                            sister-in-law intend to enter guilty
                            pleas next week to some of the charges
                            as part of agreements with the federal
                            government, according to documents
                            filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland.

                            The defendants were charged
                            yesterday in a five-count document
                            known as a ``superseding
                            information,'' which replaces a
                            nine-count indictment filed in February
                            against Reddy and his 31-year-old son,
                            Vijay Lakireddy.

                            Lakireddy was also charged with
                            making false statements in visa
                            applications that said Indian workers
                            would be paid $42,500 a year at his
                            Berkeley company, Active Tech
                            Solutions, when he had no intention to
                            do so.

                            The document also detailed the
                            charges against three new defendants:
                            Prasad Lakireddy, 42, of Lafayette,
                            another son of Reddy's; Jayaprakash
                            Lakireddy, 47, of Oakland, the
                            landlord's youngest brother; and
                            Annapurna Lakireddy, 46,
                            Jayaprakash Lakireddy's wife.

                            All five were charged with conspiring
                            since 1986 to illegally bring aliens into
                            the United States from India by
                            submitting false visa applications.
                            Prosecutors said the five arranged for
                            Indian citizens to assume false
                            identities and sponsored ``sham
                            marriages'' to obtain immigration
                            benefits.

                            Vijay Lakireddy and his attorney,
                            George Cotsirilos of San Francisco,
                            declined to comment after an
                            arraignment yesterday in Oakland
                            before U.S. Magistrate Judge Wayne
                            Brazil. A standard not-guilty plea was
                            entered on Lakireddy's behalf.

                            Lakireddy, Prasad Lakireddy and
                            Jayaprakash Lakireddy are expected to
                            plead guilty on Monday, and
                            Annapurna Lakireddy is scheduled to
                            enter a guilty plea on Tuesday, court
                            documents show.

                            Reddy was charged yesterday with
                            two counts of transporting a minor in
                            foreign commerce for illegal sexual
                            activity and one count of making a
                            false statement on a tax return.

                            Lakireddy was accused of one count
                            of importing an alien for immoral
                            purposes for allegedly helping to
                            smuggle two girls so that his father
                            could have unlawful sex with them, the
                            document said.

                            Prattipati's 15-year-old sister was also
                            overcome by fumes but survived. She
                            and a third girl, both of whom Reddy
                            allegedly harbored in a Bancroft Way
                            apartment he owned, helped provide
                            details to Berkeley police and federal
                            agents about the alleged conspiracy.
                            The three roommates all worked at
                            Reddy's Pasand restaurant in Berkeley
                            or Jayaprakash Lakireddy's Jay
                            Construction without minimum wage
                            or overtime premiums, prosecutors
                            said.

                            The five defendants and others are the
                            target of a pending class-action civil
                            suit to be filed on behalf of the teenage
                            girls allegedly victimized in the case,
                            said San Francisco attorney Michael
                            Rubin, who along with the American
                            Civil Liberties Union is representing the
                            girls.

                            ``This is something we have been
                            actively pursuing for quite a few
                            months,'' Rubin said yesterday. ``We're
                            talking about allegations or a complex
                            conspiracy that involves individuals
                            and victims beyond those outlined in
                            the information.''

                            E-mail Henry K. Lee at
                            hlee@sfchronicle.com.

Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

Please contact me off-list for any questions about Stop-Traffic at
<<morhant@igc.org>>.

Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
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