CA State Senator Ronald Calderon charged with taking

Monday, February 24th, 2014. Filed under: U.S. News
Senator Calderon

Senator Calderon

LOS ANGELES – Ronald Calderon, a member of the California State Senate, has agreed to surrendered to federal authorities on Monday after being named in a federal grand jury indictment that accuses him of taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from a businessman and from people who were associated with a Hollywood film studio but who were in actuality undercover FBI agents.

Ronald S. Calderon, 56, of Montebello, is charged in a 24-count indictment that was returned late yesterday by a federal grand jury with mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and aiding in the filing of false tax returns.

The indictment also charges Thomas M. Calderon, 59, also of Montebello, who is Ronald’s brother and a former member of the California State Assembly. Along with his brother, Thomas Calderon is charged in the money laundering conspiracy and with seven substantive counts of money laundering.

Tom Calderon self-surrendered this morning after being informed of the indictment and is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court.

Ron Calderon is travelling and has agreed to surrender Monday morning. Ron Calderon’s arraignment will be Monday afternoon.

The indictment describes a scheme in which Ron Calderon allegedly solicited and accepted approximately $100,000 in cash bribes – as well as plane trips, gourmet dinners, and trips to golf resorts – in exchange for official acts, such as supporting legislation that would be favorable to those who paid the bribes and opposing legislation that would be harmful to them. The indictment further alleges that Ron Calderon attempted to convince other public officials to support and oppose legislation.

“Public corruption is a betrayal of the public trust that threatens the integrity of our democratic institutions,” said United States Attorney André Birotte, Jr. “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.”

Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, stated, “Corruption victimizes each and every one of us. The indictment alleges Mr. Calderon traded influence for cash in the 30th District and beyond. In addition to robbing us of taxpayer money, corrupt practices rob us of trust in government.”

In the first part of the bribery scheme, Ron Calderon allegedly took bribes from Michael Drobot, the former owner of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, a major provider of spinal surgeries that were often paid by workers’ compensation programs. California law allowed the hospital to pass on to insurance companies the full cost it had paid for medical hardware it used during spinal surgeries. In another case filed this morning, Drobot admitted that his hospital exploited this law, which was often called the “spinal pass-through,” by using hardware that had been purchased at highly inflated prices from companies that Drobot controlled and passing this cost along to insurance providers. Drobot allegedly bribed Ron Calderon so that he would use his public office to preserve this law that helped Drobot maintain a long-running and lucrative health care fraud scheme.

While the corruption indictment does not implicate Ron Calderon in the health care fraud scheme, Ron Calderon is charged with taking bribes from Drobot to preserve the spinal pass-through law. The indictment specifically alleges that Drobot bribed Ron Calderon by hiring Calderon’s college-age son to work as a file clerk at his company and paying him approximately $30,000 over the course of three summers. Ron Calderon’s son showed up for only about 15 days of work each summer, according to the indictment, which also accused Ron Calderon of accepting plane trips, golf outings, and expensive dinners from Drobot. Ron Calderon allegedly arranged meetings between Drobot and other public

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