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Former Pechanga Tribe CFO and an Insurance Agent on Trial For Fraud

Jury selection began Thursday for James William Riley and Ryan Jay Robinson, accused of stealing $4 million from the Temecula-based tribe.

Jury selection concluded for the day Thursday in a trial for two men accused of diverting $4 million in insurance funds into their personal bank accounts. 

Prospective jurors were ordered back to court Monday.

James William Riley, 48, of Corona and Ryan Jay Robinson, 41, of Temecula are each charged with grand theft and commercial burglary.

Riley is additionally charged with money laundering, according to court documents. He faces 15 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Robinson -- the Pechanga tribe's former chief financial officer -- faces 10 years.

On Thursday, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Elisabeth Sichel ruled on the admissibility of evidence in two matters -- one of them regarding Casino Pauma in San Diego County.

Opening statements should begin next week.

Accordiing to the complaint filed by the District Attorney's Office, Riley and Robinson conspired to steal money from the  Pechanga tribe that was intended to pay property insurance premiums for the Pechanga Development Corp.

The D.A.'s office also alleges Riley artificially inflated premiums.

The stolen money was then allegedly funneled through several bank accounts before Riley withdrew the money in the form of cashier's checks, prosecutors allege.

Riley is free on bond for $1 million bail; Robinson is out on $120,000.  


---City News Service contributed to this report  

Mark July 06, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Peter, we, your Patch readers miss you. With you being gone, this site is just not the same.
Temecula Bob July 06, 2012 at 06:10 AM
How vague your comment is. If you know something, say it. You sound sad and bitter toward Pechanga; you could at least tell us why you're whining.
Temecula Bob July 06, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Why don't you email him instead of posting on a board he doesn't edit anymore
John July 06, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Well said Bob
Rick Cuevas July 06, 2012 at 03:07 PM
What the Pechanga poster is referring to is the recent "disenfranchisement" of a number of people including the former tribal chairwoman,her son and the former head of CNIGA. They were accused of stealing slot machines from storage and selling them. The number tossed around was $40 million. The disenfranchisement, includes loss of per capita. It is not the same a disenrollment. The tribe has violated the civil rights of their people, which Original Pechanga's Blog discusses. Allottees that live on the property that has been ours since 189 were terminated in 2006, stripped of their citizenship. Can anyone name any American citizen that has lost their citizenship in the past 50 years? Pechanga did it to 25% of their tribe. Acting outside their own constitution. The FBI investigation is ongoing and they will be acting soon.
Elaine July 06, 2012 at 03:14 PM
At least they will get a fair trial, unlike those Pechanga members who lost their heritage rights without any trial or attorney representation.
Mike July 06, 2012 at 03:24 PM
All these casinos are in cahoots with cartel drug money laundering..... Ect everyone to Sacramento has there hands in the pot
TVOR July 06, 2012 at 06:15 PM
These are some very serious allegations. Do you have some proof to offer? You shouldn't say such things unless you are prepared to prove your accusations.
Pechanga July 06, 2012 at 07:18 PM
What is his email address? Anyone?
Mark July 06, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I'm not sure what his new email address is.
Pechanga July 06, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Pechanga 10:51 pm on Thursday, July 5, 2012 Small fries compared to the massive corruption really going on at the criminal enterprise aka Pechanga; Council, Development Corp, Enrollment, Imposter Indians...FBI and IRS need to sweep the whole thieving bunch and shut down the casino and other 'enterprises.' Cast a wide and deep net...bonanza! Biggest thieves are attorneys and politicians...surprising implications for political races. Ouch! May the canaries sing! sing! sing!
Pechanga July 06, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Witness Protection!
Pechanga July 06, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Cuevas put balls back in pocket?
Mrs. MacGillicuttie July 06, 2012 at 08:39 PM
where is my ten foot pole when I need it???
Mrs. MacGillicuttie July 06, 2012 at 09:15 PM
OMG i will be laughing and laughing all the way home....and laughing in bed all night...my people you are so funny!! thank you.
Rick Cuevas July 06, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Apparently, my posts were taken down. Google Original Pechanga's blog for more. Stay tuned to this story, though. We'll see more about Pechanga's theft soon enough.
temeculan July 07, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Hey Mike...your comment is ill informed. Both knee jerk comments are big fat wrong dude. Tribal gaming might have it's faults but you are barking up the wrong tree Fido.
Temecula Bob July 09, 2012 at 08:14 AM
So where's your proof?

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