Former California state Assemblyman Tom Calderon has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to laundering bribes that his brother, former state Sen. Ron Calderon, received from undercover FBI agents posing as independent filmmakers who wanted changes to California’s film-incentives program.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ron Calderon (pictured) agreed to support an expansion of a state law that gave tax credits to independent films with allowable expenses of more than $1 million. In exchange for $60,000 in bribes, Ron Calderon agreed to support new legislation to reduce that threshold to $750,000. Half of the bribe money was then laundered through a political consulting company controlled by his brother Tom, who was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder.
Ron Calderon pleaded guilty June 21 to accepting the bribes and is scheduled to be sentenced next Monday, although he has asked for a continuance. Despite the bribes, the law was never changed.
“Tom Calderon was all too aware of the bribe payments to his brother and that his brother had agreed to a quid pro quo with the undercover agents,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker. “Tom Calderon facilitated these bribe payments by helping to conceal his brother’s corrupt activities from the public.”
“Today’s sentencing sends a message to those interested in using access to public office in order to reap personal benefits that they will be held responsible for their actions,” said Deirdre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office. “Mr. Calderon used his family ties to benefit personally at the expense of the constituents represented by his brother’s office.”
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