Alleged con man facing more charges

Updated: November 28, 2003, 11:06 AM ET
Associated Press

EVERETT, Wash. -- A man facing nine theft charges may soon be charged with more offenses that investigators say can be traced to his success in conning a Seattle Mariners pitcher.

Eddie W. Rivera, 31, jailed Monday for investigation of six counts of first-degree theft, remained in custody Friday with bail set at $150,000, according to the Snohomish County Jail's Web site.

Investigators said Rivera started by befriending Ryan Franklin of Spiro, Okla., of the Mariners and arranging promotional opportunities for him at a car dealership.

"He's very, very smooth," deputy prosecutor Jim Townsend said. "He got into the clubhouse one day and talked himself into Ryan's good graces."

Jay Franklin, 35, a baseball agent and older brother of the Seattle pitcher, said Rivera conned him, too.

"That's what we get for being from Oklahoma and living in small towns," Jay Franklin told The Herald of Everett. "All I can say is if you're an honest-to-good person, stay away from him."

According to documents filed in court, Rivera used $146,000 of his sports management company's money for personal expenses and failed to make good on promises to other businesses and an inventor.

After befriending the pitcher, Rivera flew to Oklahoma and convinced Jay Franklin, a former employee of sports agent Scott Boras, that he headed a big company that represented Hollywood personalities but wanted to switch to sports management, focusing on baseball.

"For a guy on the outside, (baseball is) a hard family to get involved in," Jay Franklin said. "You have to know someone.

"Eddie snowed my brother and convinced others that he was an upstanding, reputable citizen."

Rivera hung out with Ryan Franklin and lunched with catcher Ben Davis and other Mariners, then falsely told car dealers and other business owners he represented a number of Seattle players, Jay Franklin said.

Besides fixing up Ryan Franklin with a promotional deal at an auto dealership, Rivera arranged a car dealership promotion for Benji Gil, a former Anaheim Angels player who told investigators he was never paid for his endorsements, according to court documents.

Jay Franklin said he began investigating after he became suspicious and learned through a newspaper clipping provided by someone at a bank that Rivera had been charged in Snohomish County with nine counts of theft in an unrelated case in 2001.

At that point, Jay Franklin said, he, his brother and a friend, Jeff Frye, another investor, brought their concerns to Townsend and sheriff's detective Matt Trafford, who filed the 16-page affidavit that outlined the case against Rivera.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press