Former Soboba Band chairman Robert Salgado passes on at age 73

Robert Salgaro, 1942-2016. Photo from Rose Salgado

Robert "Bobby" Salgado Sr., a former chairman of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians of California, passed away on Sunday. He was 73.

Salgado led his people for more than 30 years. He helped the tribe emerge from destitute conditions by opening a gaming facility and by settling a major water rights case.

Despite his accomplishments, Salgado fell from grace after being indicted on 36 bribery and tax evasion charges in October 2009. He pleaded guilty to two charges and was sentenced to 41 months in prison in April 2011.

"I've apologized to my people. I've apologized to my family. And I apologized to the court," Salgado said at his sentencing hearing, The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. He admitted that he took nearly $875,000 in bribes from vendors who did business with the tribe and failed to report his income to the Internal Revenue Service.

Salgado suffered from numerous health problems, which had him in and out the hospital as his case was proceeding. He finally surrendered in June 2011, according to federal records, and was discharged in July 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

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Ex-tribal Chairman Bobby Salgado, 73, dies in local hospital (The Riverside Press-Enterprise

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