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Friday, August 23, 2013 – 09:00 a.m.

Could outside management be in the cards for San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino?

It sure sounds that way!

Sources say casino employees are pretty open on the subject of an outside management company being hired to takeover casino operations.

For years, the San Manauel Tribal Government has been pretty hellbent on running things the way they want. Now that hands-on approach may be changing.

It’s unknown what the catalyst is. But one could speculate that the recent fiasco involving Former San Bernardino County Deputy Sheriff Christopher Burnell may have a bearing.

Burnell, cashed just under $1 million in cashier’s checks, made out directly to the casino. Checks given to Burnell by then-local investment advisor John Thornes. The checks were part of some $4.2 million Thornes took from two client accounts, and paid to Burnell, and Redlands resident Kyle Larick.

San Manuel charges a check cashing fee equal to a percentage of the check amount. That percentage can go as high as 15% or more. It’s unknown what fee arrangement Burnell had with the casino.

Federal regulators have since closed Thornes investment business, and sources say the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are investigating, and a federal grand jury may already be in place.

Documents, related to Thornes discipline by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), show the monies that passed-thru San Manuel Casino was of specific interest to regulators.

Money laundering was referenced in the FINRA complaint.