Former California state Senator Ron Calderon was sentenced to more than three years in prison on Friday in a public corruption case in which the Democratic politician admitted to accepting about $100,000 in bribes, a spokesman for prosecutors said. The sentence concluded the criminal case against a longtime lawmaker who once was one of the most influential figures in the California legislature. Calderon, who represented the Los Angeles suburb of Montebello, left office in 2014 after serving a dozen years in the state Senate and four in the Assembly. A federal judge in Los Angeles sentenced Calderon on Friday to 3-1/2 years in prison, Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said in an email. Calderon also will serve one year under supervision after he is released from prison, Mrozek said.
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Calderon’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment. Calderon pleaded guilty in June to a single count of mail fraud, reaching a deal with prosecutors weeks before he was scheduled to stand trial on charges in a 24-count indictment. He faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for mail fraud but prosecutors said they agreed under the terms of his plea agreement to seek a sentence of less than six years for the former lawmaker.
Calderon, 59, was one of three Democrats in the state Senate suspended over ethics charges in 2014, costing their party a two-thirds majority. Prosecutors have said Calderon accepted $100,000 in bribes from the owner of a Long Beach hospital to preserve a legal loophole that allowed companies controlled by the owner to charge more for hardware used in spinal surgeries. Calderon also was accused of taking bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as Hollywood executives in exchange for steering legislation in their favor.
His older brother, Tom Calderon, a former member of the state Assembly who became a political consultant, also was named in the indictment and pleaded guilty to a money-laundering charge for allowing bribes earmarked for his brother to be funneled through his firm. Tom Calderon was sentenced last month to six months in prison and six months in home confinement. The Calderon brothers were members of a political dynasty going back decades in California before they were ensnared in the federal investigation. Ron Calderon during his career played key roles on a number of committees, including chairing a state Senate committee on elections.