Federico Buenrostro, the former CEO of CalPERs, has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for accepting bribery. Buenrostro pleaded guilty to helping Alfred Villalobos in business ventures in exchange for money, vacations, and even the price of his own wedding.
ABC News has more on the topic:
Senior U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer called the case against Federico Buenrostro, the former chief executive of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, “seriously troubling” and said it reflected a “spectacular breach of trust for the most venal of purposes, which is self-enrichment.”
Buenrostro, 66, pleaded guilty to fraud and bribery charges two years ago, saying he started taking bribes around 2005 to try to get CalPERS staff members to make investment decisions that helped Alfred Villalobos, an investment manager and former board member of the pension fund.
Buenrostro said he accepted cash, a trip around the world and allowed Villalobos to pay for his wedding in Lake Tahoe, California. Villalobos killed himself last year, weeks before he was set to go on trial. He had pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.
“I take full responsibility and accept the consequences of the actions I took,” Buenrostro, in a blue jail outfit and leg irons, told the judge before he was sentenced. “I’m humiliated, embarrassed and deeply ashamed of my actions.”
Buenrostro’s guilty plea came out of a yearslong investigation into the role of money-management firm middlemen, called placement agents, in helping clients win investment business from the pension fund. The fund manages health and retirement benefits for state employees and has about $290 billion in assets.
As part of his plea deal, Buenrostro acknowledged giving Villalobos access to confidential investment information and forging letters that allowed firms connected with Villalobos to collect a $14 million commission on $3 billion worth of pension fund investments.
The former executive faced up to five years in prison, but the U.S. attorney’s office asked for a four-year term, citing Buenrostro’s cooperation in the case against Villalobos. He also has agreed to pay back $250,000 to the state, prosecutors said.
Buenrostro was recently jailed for breaking parole on a domestic violence charge.