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Name: People v. Riley
Case #: E059103
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/21/2015

Insufficient evidence supported commercial bribery (Pen. Code, § 641.3, subd. (a)) convictions where one of the accused was no longer an employee of the pertinent institution on the alleged dates of the offenses. Riley and Robinson were each convicted of three counts of commercial bribery. The charges were based on the premise that Riley, who was the insurance broker for Pechanga Resort and Casino, paid bribes to Robinson, who was the casino’s CFO, in order to permit Riley to charge excessive fees for insurance products he obtained for the casino. One of the issues on appeal was whether there was insufficient evidence to support four of the counts because Robinson was no longer the CFO of the casino as of the dates alleged in those counts. Held: Reversed in part. An element of the offense of commercial bribery is that one of the parties to the illicit transaction must be an employee of the entity alleged to have been injured by the transaction. (Pen. Code, § 641.3, subd. (a).) Here, the indictment alleged that the acts of commercial bribery occurred on three different dates. However, on two of the dates associated with four of the counts, Robinson was no longer an employee of the Pechanga Resort and Casino. Although there was some evidence that Robinson continued to exercise some influence over his replacement with respect to the casino’s dealings with Riley, there was simply no evidence that Robinson was an employee of the Casino on those dates. Accordingly, there was insufficient evidence to prove the employee element of commercial bribery as to those counts and the convictions were reversed.