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Temecula Man Accused of Stealing Millions from Pechanga

Ryan Jay Robinson, 41, along with James William Riley of Corona are accused of stealing $4 million from the tribe.

A jury is expected to be seated today for the trial of a former Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians accountant and an ex-insurance broker who are accused of stealing $4 million from the Temecula-based tribe by diverting insurance funds into their personal bank accountants.

James William Riley, 48, of Corona and Ryan Jay Robinson, 41, of Temecula were indicted in February 2010 on multiple felonies stemming from a scam that the pair allegedly perpetrated in 2006 and 2007. Riley is free on $1 million bail, and Robinson is free on a $120,000 bond.

Riley -- a former insurance broker and partner at Riley, Garrison & Associates -- could face 15 years in prison and six-figure fines if convicted of three counts each of grand theft, commercial burglary and money laundering.

Robinson, the Pechanga tribe's former chief financial officer, is facing up to
10 years behind bars if convicted of grand theft and three counts of burglary.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Elisabeth Sichel began summoning
prospective jurors to her downtown Riverside courtroom Thursday to determine
their availability and qualifications.

A final group of 30 prospective jurors was called up Monday afternoon, and jury selection is expected to wrap up later today. Opening statements could begin this afternoon or Wednesday.

The District Attorney's Office alleges that the defendants conspired to swindle the Pechanga tribe out of money intended to pay property insurance premiums for the Pechanga Development Corp.

According to the D.A.'s office, Riley allegedly artificially inflated premiums paid to Riley, Garrison & Associates, keeping the overage and paying Robinson more than $100,000 to disguise the transactions as legitimate.

The ill-gotten gains were funneled through several bank accounts before Riley withdrew the money in the form of cashier's checks, prosecutors allege.

The tribe initiated an internal probe that led to a criminal investigation and grand jury indictments.

"At best, these individuals violated the tribe's trust and broke their fiduciary duty to our people," tribal Chairman Mark Macarro said in February 2010. "At worst, they committed crimes against our tribe."

temeculan July 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Really? Mr. "Smith", sir....you are a moron. Just the type of moron who is so bad at math that you would go to a casino, expect to win and when confronted with the reality of losing, blame someone other than yourself. You, sir, are the kind of dimbulb that helped build Las Vegas. These guys are thieves Smith. Nothing more, nothing less. Get a clue man.
Original Pechanga July 11, 2012 at 02:58 PM
These two men ARE thieves, having stolen $4 million dollars from a tribe that has stolen $350 MILLION from their own members. By stripping the citizenship of 25% of their tribe, including Macarro's own relations, and the descendents of the man whose land grant the casino is on. Google Original Pechanga's Blog to learn more about your neighbors. @Nick, millions? Really? How many $10,000 donations does one have to make to get to $2 million? San Manuel donates MILLIONS, Pechanga, tens of thousands. Gamblers should think: If Pechanga will cheat their own people, will they be honest with you?
Brenda July 12, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Pechanga does employee alot of people and thank god for that. If you don't like casinos and the fact that yes they will always win your money in the end, then don't go except for the buffet. Pechange does donate money and do different things for Temecula as Alan says. So its your decision on whether or not you go there and toss your hard earned money in machines or on the tables. Just like Vegas, we arent stupid, no one ever really wins. Now the fact is these guys had a nice kick back going on and stole 4 million dollars, its against the law, they get charged, go to trial, and if found guilty go to jail. Its simple, live with it, and I hope they love their new jail cells instead of the cusshy beds all that money paid for. Both of these men should have just been damn happy they had jobs and very good ones at that, but they got greedy.
K4299R July 12, 2012 at 03:51 PM
you sir, are a moron
Factofthematter July 13, 2012 at 06:02 AM
They are not thieves. Only if you knew ALL the evidence and witnesses left out of the grand jury indictment you would be singing a different tune. The truth will set them free.

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