California Democrat Indicted for Bribery
The U.S. Attorney for California announced Friday that a federal grand jury had indicted Democrat State Sen. Ronald Calderon on bribery charges. His brother Thomas was indicted on related money laundering charges.
State Sen. Calderon is accused of agreeing to take tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from businessmen and Hollywood executives--in reality, FBI agents--in return for supporting or opposing key pieces of legislation.
In a related case, Michael Drobot, the former owner of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, pled guilty to bribing State Sen. Calderon to support a law allowing hospitals to pass on the full equipment costs of spinal surgery to insurance companies. That "pass-through" allegedly allowed Drobot to maintain an extensive fraud scheme.
The bribes State Sen. Calderon are alleged to have accepted included cash and gifts. He will also face money laundering and tax fraud charges related to the bribes. He was not charged in Drobot's fraud scheme.
U.S. Attorney André Birotte, Jr. said: "Public corruption is a betrayal of the public trust that threatens the integrity of our democratic institutions. 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." Sen. Calderon could face nearly 400 years in federal prison.
Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP