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The State | IN BRIEF / SAN FRANCISCO

Judge Orders Probe of Prosecutors' Translators

November 19, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

At the orders of a district judge, prosecutors must investigate their own language interpreters for possibly encouraging victims of a sex and cheap-labor ring to embellish their stories.

The victims' testimony affects the case against two men who may have been involved in the ring led by their father, and could possibly affect their father's case.

Vijay Kumar Lakireddy and Prasad Lakireddy are the adult sons of Lakireddy Bali Reddy, the wealthy Berkeley landlord sentenced to eight years in prison for falsifying high-tech visas from India and importing Indian minors for illegal sex and cheap labor.

The sons are charged in a 21-count indictment that includes alleged sex crimes, witness tampering and visa fraud. Each of the counts, detailing 48 criminal acts between 1992 and 1999, carries a maximum penalty of five to 15 years.

Prosecutors revealed a few weeks ago that a Telgu-speaking interpreter, Uma Rao, improperly influenced the investigation by encouraging victims to embellish their stories and even lie.

Interpreters are supposed to provide unbiased translation.

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