Monday, October 11, 2010

Former Soboba Chairman Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes from Vendors

Robert Salgado Sr., former chairman of the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, pleaded guilty last week to federal charges related to his acceptance of approximately $875,000 in bribes from tribal vendors and concealing that income from the IRS, according to a press release issued on Oct. 5 by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California.

Salgado, 68, pleaded guilty to two felony charges — bribery and subscribing to a false tax return — before U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson.

In a plea agreement, Salgado admitted that he accepted a total of $874,995 in bribe payments from five vendors who did business with the Soboba Band. The payments to Salgado, which were made by vendors hoping to obtain or being allowed to keep contracts with the tribe, were given to Salgado in the form of cash, payments made to his creditors and checks payable to an entity controlled by Salgado.

Salgado is expected to be sentenced early next year, and he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 13 years in federal prison. The plea agreement contemplates a sentence of 87 months to 108 months in prison, but the actual sentence will be determined by Judge Pregerson, the release said.

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