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State Sen. Ron Calderon took $100,000 in bribes, authorities allege

February 21, 2014|By Richard Winton

State Sen. Ron Calderon has been indicted in a sweeping corruption case, accused taking about $100,000 in bribes. 

Federal authorities allege that Calderon (D-Montebello) took the bribes from a Corona del Mar man as well as people connected to what he believed was a Hollywood studio. In fact, the studio was an FBI front and the business associates were FBI agents.

Authorities claim Calderon received crash bribes, trips and dinners in exchange for "official acts."

Calderon, 56, faces 24 counts of fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and aiding in the filing of false tax returns.

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GRAPHIC: Calderon family connections

"Public corruption is a betrayal of the public trust that threatens the integrity of our democratic institutions," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte said at a news conference Friday. 

Calderon's brother, Thomas, faces changes for fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and aiding in the filing of false tax returns. Thomas Calderon is a former assemblyman who most recently served as a consultant for the Central Basin Water District.

Authorities allege that Ronald Calderon took bribes from CdM resident Michael Drobot, the former owner of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach. 

According to a U.S. attorney's office statement, "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 officials and helped Drobot attempt to persuade the other legislators" to help with bills favorable to his business.

Drobot has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and paying illegal kickbacks, according to the U.S. attorney.

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