OAKLAND – Looking grim, the two Lakireddy brothers were back in U.S. District Court Tuesday for a brief hearing during which a prosecutor new to the case asked for time to familiarize himself with the proceedings.
Vijay Kumar Lakireddy and Prasad Lakireddy, half-brothers and sons of convicted offender Lakireddy Bali Reddy, are charged with a number of federal offenses, including helping their father bring girls illegally to the United States for sex and cheap labor, visa fraud and witness tampering.
The elder Reddy was sentenced last week to about eight years in prison for bringing girls illegally into the country for sex and cheap labor and for filing a false tax report.
The younger Lakireddys are both free on bail and, according to Vijay Lakireddy’s attorney, George J Cotsirilos Jr., both continue to contend they are not guilty as charged and are planning to take the case to trial. The elder Reddy pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain agreement.
A delay in the pretrial process until July 10 was requested by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen G. Corrigan, who will be prosecuting the Lakireddy brothers in the place of Assistant U.S. Attorney John W. Kennedy who has been appointed superior court judge in Contra Costa County. Corrigan will have thousands of pages of documents, 42 computer compact discs and dozens of audio taped interviews to sift through.
According to documents filed with the court by the prosecution in April, the brothers are collectively charged with more than 20 counts of nine different sections of the U.S. Code.
Both are accused of conspiring to bring foreigners, including minors, into the country illegally for the purpose of illicit sexual activity with an adult, employing them illegally and submitting fraudulent visa applications.
Among specific allegations are that the brothers would “employ these aliens at various times without paying them the minimum wage or overtime premium as required by law.”
Court documents describe the victims as “poor and destitute young Indian girls” and say they were procured “for the purposes of sexual relations with defendants Prasad Lakireddy and Vijay Kumar Lakireddy...among others.”
The document goes on to allege the means by which the brothers and their father would hold sway over the girls. They controlled “where the girls lived, where they worked, where they ate meals, how much money they earned, whether they attended school, and when they were permitted to return to India,” it says. “They also did so by, among other things, scolding, belittling, threatening, beating and raping the victims.”
The charging document also says that at least one of the victims was 11 years old when a visa was requested.
Without giving the name or age of the alleged victims, the charges of rape against both brothers are specific:
“In or about 1992, defendant Vijay Lakireddy had sexual intercourse with Victim No. 5 against her will. In or about 1993, defendant Vijay Lakireddy had sexual intercourse with Victim No. 6 against her will.” Similarly the younger brother is accused of having sex against the will of victims No. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7.
Prasad Lakireddy also faces charges alleging that he had sexual intercourse with minors against their will, including victims No. 2, 3 and 4.
Allegations are also specific regarding the pair’s role in illegal business practices. Vijay Lakireddy’s business, Active Tech Solutions, whose address was given at 2342 Shattuck Ave., was alleged to have filed statements saying he would employ various people as programmer/analysts “when in truth...as the defendant well knew, Active Tech Solutions had no intention to employ (five different persons) full-time at Active Tech Solutions...and that Active Tech Solutions did not earn a gross annual income of $120,000 and net income of $80,000.”
Allegations also say that Active Tech Solution was, in fact, “a rented mail box.”
Prasad Lakireddy is further accused of tampering with witnesses.