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.


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

Central Player in CalPERS Bribery Case Is Too Sick For Trial, According to Lawyer


Alfred Villalobos, the ex-placement agent on trial for bribing CalPERS’ chief executive, is too sick to stand trial, according to his lawyer.

The attorney is pushing for a postponement of the trial, which was set to begin in late February.

Villalobos is 71 years old and has reportedly been in and out of the emergency room in recent months.

From the Sacramento Bee:

In a court filing Monday, attorney Bruce Funk said Villalobos has had “numerous stays in the emergency room” in the past few months. “Mr. Villalobos is not physically or mentally able to participate in his defense, or to even sit through a trial,” Funk wrote.


In the court filing, Funk said his client was “incoherent” the last time they spoke on the phone, last Wednesday.

Funk wouldn’t go into details, but Villalobos, 71, has clearly been in declining health. His trial, originally set for last March, was postponed after lawyers said he was suffering from various heart ailments and neurological problems.

When he appeared in court last July, the Reno businessman’s breathing was labored and he walked with two metal canes.

Villalobos is accused of paying $250,000 in bribes to Fred Buenrostro, the former CEO of CalPERS, in an effort to steer pension fund investment dollars to Villalobos’ private equity clients. A former California Public Employees’ Retirement System board member, Villalobos earned $50 million in commissions representing clients seeking CalPERS investments.

Fred Buenrostro, former CEO of CalPERS, pled guilty to accepting Villalobos’ bribes.

Villalobos faces up to 30 years in prison.


Photo by via Flickr CC License