Discuss as:

School board member convicted of running prostitution ring in California

A Riverside jury on Friday found a local school board member guilty of 23 felonies related to a prostitution operation he ran out of his Moreno Valley home.

Mike Rios, 42, had been free on $500,000 bail but was immediately taken into custody and booked into the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.

He was convicted of rape, pimping, pandering and other counts related to six victims, including two underage girls.

In seeking women to work as prostitutes, Rios told one woman he was a member of the Moreno Valley school board and asked if she wanted a job, according to the according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office. To an underage girl, Rios offered the use of his Hummer if she would work for him, the DA's office said.

Rios was also convicted on charges related to filing a false insurance claim after a vehicle collision.

He had testified this week that he had only wanted to run a strip-tease service, not a sex service.

He testified about his arrangement with a stripper named Valery, who lived in his home and had use of his cars in exchange for helping pay the bills.

Valery, 20, testified that Rios "basically wanted to gather together some girls and sell them."

"He said he needed to raise money because he wanted to be something bigger in the district," Valery said. "He told me what I could do for men."

The jury of eight men and four women found Rios guilty of one count of rape, 12 counts of pimping, six counts of insurance fraud and five pandering counts.

Rios had originally faced 35 charges, but a judge reduced those to 26. Rios was found not guilty of one count of rape. The jury hung on a third count of rape and a pandering charge.

His sentencing hearing was set for March 8, but that could be postponed pending the outcome of a separate trial in which Rios is facing two counts of attempted murder, as well as assault with a deadly weapon and influencing testimony by bribe. The next hearing date in that case is April 12.

That case, involving a February 2012 shooting outside Rios' home, prompted the investigation that uncovered the sex business.