Tuesday, April 30, 2013
James Riley & Ryan Robinson GUILTY of Bribery In Pechanga Corruption Case. Pechanga Officials STILL Not Held to Answer For Human Rights Violations
A former insurance broker and a onetime official of the Pechanga Resort & Casino near Temecula were each convicted Monday, April 29, of commercial bribery, authorities said.
This was the second trial for James William Riley, 49, of Murrieta, and Ryan Jay Robinson, 42, of Temecula, the casino’s former chief financial officer. The men had been accused of bilking Pechanga of $4 million in an insurance overcharging scam from 2006 to 2007 and were indicted by a grand jury in 2010. They were originally charged with grand theft and commercial bribery, with Riley additionally accused of money laundering. But after jurors in the first trial deadlocked last July, a judge dismissed the grand theft and money laundering counts.
A retrial on three counts each of commercial bribery began earlier this month. Jurors found the men guilty on all counts, said John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office. Robinson and Riley face up to four years and four months in custody at their sentencing, scheduled for July 3, he said.
Prosecutors said in the original case that Robinson approved inflated insurance invoices from Riley in exchange for about $150,000 in kickbacks. Robinson used the bribe money to cover gambling debts, prosecutors said.
The alleged scheme began to unravel in late summer 2006 after an employee noticed irregularities with an invoice, triggering an investigation by casino executives.
Riley's defense attorney in the first trial said his client took due compensation for saving Pechanga millions of dollars in insurance premiums in a tight insurance market after the industry was recovering from huge claims following Hurricane Katrina.
Robinson's attorney said his client had no knowledge of the inner workings of Riley’s insurance operation.