Alfred Villalobos, Central Figure in the CalPERS Bribery Scandal, Has Died

court room

On Tuesday, the lawyer of Alfred Villalobos said his client was too sick to attend the trial stemming from his alleged bribery of a top CalPERS official.

On Wednesday, the lawyer said that Villalobos, 71, had passed away.

Villalobos, a former placement agent, was on trial for allegedly bribing a former CalPERS Chief Executive to direct money toward certain investment firms.

More from the Sacramento Bee:

Alfred Villalobos, the Nevada businessman at the center of a corruption scandal that gripped CalPERS, has died, one of his lawyers said Wednesday. Cindy Diamond, one of Villalobos’ defense attorneys, said Villalobos died Tuesday. She declined further comment.

Villalobos’ lawyers, as it happens, were prepared to ask a federal judge Wednesday to delay Villalobos’ trial on bribery charges because of their client’s ill health. In a court filing earlier this week, attorney Bruce Funk said “Mr. Villalobos is not physically or mentally able to participate in his defense, or to even sit through a trial.”

The trial was supposed to begin Feb. 23.

The 71-year-old Villalobos has been in poor health for the past three years, according to his lawyers, with his maladies including a heart condition and neurological problems. When he appeared in U.S. District Court in San Francisco last summer on a pre-trial matter, he walked slowly with the aid of two canes and his breathing was difficult.

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In a statement, CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco said, “We remain focused on supporting enforcement authorities as they pursue bringing to justice those who broke the law and violated the trust placed in them by the public employees of California.”

Villalobos had pled not guilty and was facing 30 years in prison.

The death will not change the situation of Fred Buenrostro, the former CalPERS executive who is cooperating with prosecutors in exchange for a reduced sentence.

 

Photo by  Lee Haywood via Flickr CC License

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