June 23, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Federal Prosecutor Recommends Former Senator Ron Calderon Be Sentenced

A federal prosecutor is recommending that former state Sen. Ron Calderon be sentenced Friday to five years behind bars as part of a corruption case that also involved the ex-lawmaker’s brother.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mack E. Jenkins has asked the judge to deny leniency to Calderon, who in June entered into a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.

Calderon’s “trafficking in his legislative votes” for over $150,000 in cash and other benefits “caused a reverberation of negative effects throughout California and put a stain not just on his career, but on the reputation of the state legislature,” Jenkins wrote in a pre-sentencing brief.

Jenkins noted that Calderon, a Montebello Democrat, “admitted to participating in two substantial and complex bribery schemes that entailed multiple forms of bribes, concealment and sophisticated money laundering. Here, defendant sold his vote not just to help pay for the expenses of living beyond his means, but for the more banal and predictable aims of corruption — fancy luxuries, fancy parties and fancy people.”

Calderon’s attorney has suggested that U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder sentence the 59-year-old former lawmaker to time already served or a period of home detention.

Jenkins proposed that Calderon be sentenced to five years in custody, one year of supervised release, a $7,500 fine and 250 hours of community service.

Calderon’s elder brother, Tom, was sentenced in September to a 10-month split sentence of federal prison and electronic monitoring for helping conceal bribe money that his brother received during an FBI sting.

The former Montebello-area assemblyman pleaded guilty to a money laundering count in which he admitted allowing $30,000 from an undercover agent to be funneled through his Calderon Group as payment for his younger brother to support lowering the threshold for California’s film tax credit from $1 million to $750,000.

The Calderon brothers were indicted in February 2014 on two dozen counts, including wire fraud, mail fraud, honest services fraud, bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and aiding in the filing of false tax returns.

Jenkins wrote that the case was representative of a climate in Sacramento “where waves of dark money infect politics and flood the worlds of many politicians.”

Ron Calderon was accused of soliciting and accepting $100,000 in cash bribes, in addition to getting a raft of plane trips, gourmet meals and golf resort junkets in exchange for championing laws favorable to those who paid him and working against laws that could do them harm.

He was suspended from the state Senate in March 2014, and his term in office ended nine months later.

Tom Calderon represented his Montebello-area district in the California Assembly from 1998-2002.

In sentencing Tom Calderon, Snyder said a longer custodial sentence was warranted, but she took into account the 62-year-old defendant’s health problems, which resulted in recent triple bypass surgery.

 

Former Senator Ron Caleron

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