FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECRT
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2001(202) 514-2008
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
CALIFORNIA MAN ADMITS HE BROUGHT INDIAN GIRLS TO U.S. FOR
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION, PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL CHARGES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - One of the largest landlords in Berkeley, Calif., pleaded guilty today to trafficking women and girls into the United States to place them in sexual servitude, the Justice Department announced.
Lakireddy Bali Reddy pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Oakland to an information charging him with transporting minors for illegal sexual activity, conspiring to commit immigration fraud, and subscribing to a false tax return. Reddy's brother, Jayaprakash Lakireddy, and sister-in-law, Annapurna Lakireddy, pleaded guilty on March 5, 2001 to federal charges, admitting they conspired with Reddy to commit immigration fraud.
Lakireddy Bali Reddy faces a statutory maximum sentence of 38 years incarceration; his sentencing is scheduled for April 10, 2001. Also, he will pay $2 million restitution to the victims as part of a plea agreement. Jayaprakash and Annapurna Lakireddy face statutory maximum sentences of five years incarceration.
In 1999, Berkeley authorities who were called to one of Lakireddy Bali Reddy's apartment buildings discovered two Indian girls who were unconscious, apparently sickened by carbon monoxide in the building. One of them later died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
A subsequent federal investigation revealed that Reddy, certain family members, and others had been carrying out a widespread conspiracy since 1986 to bring at least 25 Indian laborers into the United States through false pretenses.
In addition, Lakireddy Bali Reddy arranged for a brother and sister to enter the United States while pretending to be husband and wife. At Reddy's direction, these siblings also brought two girls - posing as their daughters - into the United States for the purpose of engaging in sexual relations with him. In another incident in 1993, Lakireddy Bali Reddy brought into the United States a 13-year-old girl from Indian for the purpose of sexual relations.
"Sex trafficking of minors is a heinous form of modern-day slavery," said Acting Assistant Attorney General William Yeomans of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "We must work together to protect these most vulnerable victims and do everything we can to stop it."
The case was investigated by the INS, FBI, IRS, Department of Labor, and Berkeley Police Department and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Northern District of California and the Criminal Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. The victims in this case were represented by the ACLU Immigrant's Rights Project
Individuals can report cases of trafficking or slavery to the toll-free Worker Exploitation Task Force complaint line, at 1-888-428-7581. The task force is an interagency group that combats the problem of trafficking in persons and modern-day slavery in the United States. More information about this effort can be found at: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/crim/tpwetf.htm.