UPDATE: Salgado pleads GUILTY
Robert Salgado has been relieved of his duties as head of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, according to a written statement released Tuesday by the tribe.
Tribal liaison Mike Hiles said the tribe would have no additional comment, but said in the e-mailed message, “Effective today, the Tribal Council of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians has placed Robert Salgado Sr. on administrative leave pending resolution of the allegations against him, during which time Mr. Salgado is not authorized to conduct business or represent the tribe in any capacity. The decision was made by the Tribal Council of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians in a closed session today.”
Salgado was arrested by FBI agents last week on a 36-count federal grand jury indictment accusing him of soliciting and taking bribes from four companies doing business with the tribe.
In a news release announcing the indictment, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jill T. Feeney and Brian E. Klein of the Major Frauds Division said, “As the elected chairman of the Tribal Council of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, Salgado exercised substantial influence over the business dealings of the tribe and he had the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the Soboba band.”
Bribery is a crime for officials in tribes that have received $10,000 in federal assistance during the year in which the offenses are alleged to have been committed.
Six counts of the indictment involve filing income tax returns that substantially understated Salgado’s income.
Though the returns gave income amounts ranging from about $146,000 to more than $200,000, his actual income was “substantially higher,” according to the indictment.