Los Angeles

Former Assemblyman Pleads Guilty in Corruption Case

What to Know

  • For Democratic Assemblyman Tom Calderon admitted he helped bribe money his brother was receiving from undercover FBI agents.
  • Reduced prison time of no more than a year, fines, a period of supervised release and dismissal of other charges is now expected.
  • His brother, former state Sen. Ron Calderon, will head to trial July 19. He is accused of accepting $80,000 in bribes.

Former Democratic Assemblyman Tom Calderon pleaded guilty Monday to a federal money laundering charge in a corruption case that also involves his brother, former state Sen. Ron Calderon.

Tom Calderon admitted before U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder that he helped conceal bribe money his brother was receiving from undercover agents working for the FBI.

"Guilty, your honor," the former assemblyman said when prompted by the judge in the near-empty downtown Los Angeles courtroom.

Defense attorney Shepard Kopp said outside court that the agreement did not call for his client to testify against his brother. Federal prosecutors made no comment after the hearing.

Snyder scheduled a Sept. 12 sentencing hearing. The plea is expected to result in reduced prison time of no more than a year, fines, a period of supervised release and the dismissal of other charges.

The Calderon brothers were indicted 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.

Ron Calderon -- whose trial is set for July 19 -- is accused of accepting $80,000 in bribes, as well as gourmet meals and golf outings, from a medical company owner and an undercover FBI agent posing as a film executive.

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.

According to the plea agreement signed Monday, Tom Calderon allowed $30,000 from an undercover agent to be funneled through his Calderon Group as payment for his lawmaker brother to support lowering the threshold for

California's film tax credit from $1 million to $750,000. Tom Calderon deposited the $30,000 into the company's bank account and then wrote a check for $9,000 to Ron Calderon's daughter, according to prosecutors.

"Defendant conducted these financial transactions in order to conceal and disguise the fact that the money represented the proceeds of bribery," the document states.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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