July 21, 2014

USA: California State Senator Representing Montebello, Democrat Ron Calderon, Indicted On Two Dozen Counts Of Bribery, Fraud, Money Laundering And Other Charges.


I couldn't find this information in any of the articles that I read about his indictment. I thought it was important to know what area he represented.
Ron Calderon was elected to the 30th Senate District, which includes: Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Huntington Park, La Mirada, Los Angeles, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, California, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, South Gate, Whittier, East La Mirada, East Los Angeles, Florence-Graham, Hacienda Heights, South Whittier, and West Whittier.[source: wikipedia]
Reuters News
written by Dan Whitcomb
Friday February 21, 2014

A California state senator has been indicted on federal charges that he accepted some $100,000 in bribes from a businessman and undercover FBI agents posing as Hollywood movie executives in exchange for steering legislation in their favor, prosecutors said on Friday.

Democrat Ron Calderon, 56, has agreed to turn himself in on Monday to face two dozen counts of bribery, fraud, money laundering and other charges, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

Calderon's brother, Tom Calderon, a former member of the California State Assembly, was also named in the U.S. District Court indictment and charged with conspiracy and seven counts of money laundering. Tom Calderon, 59, has surrendered to federal authorities and was expected to face an arraignment on Friday, Mrozek said.

"Public corruption is a betrayal of the public trust that threatens the integrity of our democratic institutions," U.S. Attorney André Birotte said in announcing the charges.

"Senator Calderon is accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and using the powers of his elected office to enrich himself and his brother Tom, rather than for the benefit of the public he was sworn to serve," Birotte said.

Phone calls made to Ron Calderon's offices in the Los Angeles area and in Sacramento were not answered on Friday.

According to a 28-page indictment handed down on Thursday, Ron Calderon is accused of accepting roughly $100,000 in cash bribes, along with plane trips, golf outings and jobs for his children, in exchange for influencing legislation.

FBI AGENTS POSE AS FILM EXECS

In one of those schemes, prosecutors say, the senator took bribes from Long Beach, California, hospital owner Michael Drobot to preserve a legislative loophole that allowed Drobot to defraud the state's health care system out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Drobot has agreed to plead guilty to separate charges stemming from that scheme and is cooperating in the case against the Calderon brothers, Mrozek said.

Ron Calderon is also accused of taking bribes from undercover FBI agents who he thought worked for an independent Hollywood movie studio in exchange for supporting an expansion of film tax credits in California.

Both Calderons, part of a powerful family dynasty in California state politics dating back several decades, are accused of laundering the bribe money by funneling it through Tom Calderon's consulting firm, Californians for Diversity.

If convicted at trial, Ron Calderon, who also faces tax fraud charges, could face a statutory maximum of nearly 400 years in prison, although federal sentencing guidelines typically call for much less time. Tom Calderon could face a maximum of 160 years behind bars.

In June, FBI agents raided the Sacramento offices of Ron Calderon and the legislature's Latino Caucus, of which he was a member of the executive board.

At the time, high-profile Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos told the Sacramento Bee newspaper that prosecutors had no case against Calderon and should be "ashamed of themselves" because he believed they had leaked word of the raid to the media.

Geragos could not be reached for comment on Friday afternoon and his office declined to say if he was still representing Calderon.

In November, Calderon was removed from the board of the Latino Caucus and from his legislative committee assignments by his colleagues because of the investigation.

If convicted at trial, Ron Calderon, who also faces tax fraud charges, could face a statutory maximum of nearly 400 years in prison, although federal sentencing guidelines typically call for much less time. Tom Calderon could face a maximum of 160 years behind bars.
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Fox New Latino
written by AP staff
February 22, 2014

A California state senator was charged Friday with accepting $100,000 in bribes, lavish trips and no-show jobs for his children in exchange for pushing legislation to benefit a hospital engaged in billing fraud and participating in a film industry tax scheme that actually was an FBI sting.

The 24-count federal indictment against Sen. Ron Calderon, a Democrat from a politically prominent family in Los Angeles' blue-collar suburbs, depicts a rogue legislator eager to trade his clout at the state Capitol to enrich himself and his family. His brother Tom, a former state lawmaker-turned-lobbyist, was charged with money-laundering for funneling bribes through a tax-exempt group he controlled, prosecutors said.

"When public officials choose to callously betray the trust of the people they serve and selfishly abuse the privileges of public office, then we will take all necessary steps to hold those persons fully accountable for their behavior," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte said.

The charges come after a long-running corruption investigation that has tarnished the state's majority party — Democrats hold every statewide office and control both chambers in the Legislature. The charges also threaten the patriarchs of a family that rose to political prominence from the heavily Hispanic, working-class communities southeast of Los Angeles.

"Because they knew how to run elections and they knew how to speak to a newly incorporating group, Latinos, they knew how to get people elected," said political scientist Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. For any would-be candidate around their home base "you needed their support."

If convicted on all counts, Ron Calderon, who is expected to surrender Monday, could face nearly 400 years in federal prison. His brother, if convicted, could face a maximum penalty of 160 years in confinement, prosecutors said.

The indictment details a rampant pay-to-play culture in which Ron Calderon used his influence in the Legislature to extract money or other financial benefits from those who wanted favors.

Those bribes, prosecutors said, included trips to Las Vegas, flights on privately chartered planes and jobs for Ron Calderon's son and daughter in which they were paid but did little, if any, work. The film studio, an FBI ruse, hired his daughter for a $3,000-a-month job, and a Long Beach hospital executive involved in the medical scam hired his son for three summers at a rate of $10,000 per summer, the indictment said.

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