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Robbins Ordered to Pay $3 Million : Courts: Former state senator must offer restitution for illegally obtaining bank loans. Judge spares him from more prison time.

March 15, 1994|JOHN SCHWADA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A federal judge ordered former state senator Alan Robbins on Monday to pay more than $3 million in restitution but spared the former lawmaker from additional prison time for illegally obtaining bank loans.

Robbins, who has just completed a prison sentence on separate political corruption charges, told reporters later that he was relieved that "the ordeal of my incarceration is over." He said he is fully committed to making restitution.

The former multimillionaire could not predict when he will be able to make the payments because, he contended, much of his net worth is tangled up in lawsuits with former business partners.

The hearing before U. S. Dist. Judge Robert M. Takasugi closed yet another chapter in the story of Robbins' legal difficulties, this one stemming from his 1992 guilty plea to three counts of failing to fully reveal in writing his financial situation when applying for loans from Independence Bank of Encino.

Robbins, 50, had $3.38 million in loans outstanding from the bank when it was eventually taken over by federal regulators. The restitution is payable to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the conservator of the bank's assets.

Takasugi could have sentenced Robbins to a maximum of six years and a $750,000 fine. Bowing to the recommendations of federal prosecutors, Takasugi imposed a prison term that ran concurrently with his recently completed time at a federal prison camp at Lompoc in Santa Barbara County.

The effect was to spare Robbins from more prison. Takasugi said Robbins deserved credit for his "extraordinary cooperation" with federal authorities conducting a probe of political corruption in Sacramento.

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For five months, Robbins wore a concealed microphone that produced evidence crucial to the conviction of lobbyist Clay Jackson and former state senator Paul Carpenter. "You have to give the devil his due," Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeffrey Isaacs said after the hearing.

In January, Robbins was released from Lompoc after serving less than two years of his original five-year sentence after pleading guilty to political corruption charges.

Last weekend, Robbins completed his sentence on the corruption charges and was allowed to leave a Hollywood halfway house and move to an apartment in Westwood.

Robbins pleaded guilty in November, 1992, to failing to disclose, as required by federal law, several of his other loan obligations, including a $1,450,000 unsecured loan from another lending institution, when he applied for a $900,000 loan at the Independence Bank of Encino in 1985 and when renewing the loan in 1987.

The Encino bank, which was secretly controlled by scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International, was seized by federal regulators in January, 1992, when they determined that its bad real estate loans had rendered the bank insolvent.

Robbins has denied that he intended to lie to the bank. Rather, he has said, he had told the bank's executives orally of his other financial commitments.

In a hallway interview after Monday's hearing, Robbins told reporters that he would make the restitution as soon as he can recover funds that he now claims several of his former business partners owe him.

"There are various individuals who've tried to use the opportunity (of Robbins' imprisonment and criminal legal difficulties) to take millions of dollars . . . to stick my money in their pockets," Robbins said. "When I get this money, the $3,380,000 will be paid."

Robbins is embroiled in disputes with former partners in a Marina del Rey apartment venture, as well as with several developers, including Jonah Goldrich and Jerry Snyder, over real estate deals.

Defending the sentencing decision, Isaacs, the federal prosecutor, noted that Takasugi also placed Robbins on five years' probation on condition that he makes restitution.

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Isaacs said he was confident that the government could recover the money. "There are valuable assets out there (and) if Robbins and the FDIC can navigate the civil litigation that's now tying them up, they can be had," he said.

Earlier this month, the state commissioner of real estate revoked Robbins' real estate license, contending that Robbins' political crimes should disqualify him from the vocation.

Also this month, the Fair Political Practices Commission approved a fine of $15,000 against Robbins for failing to disclose all sources of his income when he was a state legislator.

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