Former California lawmaker sentenced for laundering bribe to his brother

SACRAMENTO, Calif. A former California lawmaker was sentenced to six months in prison and six months in home confinement Monday for laundering a bribe accepted by his brother, also a former legislator.

Thomas Calderon, 62, pleaded guilty on June 6 to one count of money laundering in the case. He admitted to depositing $30,000 in an account held by his political consulting company, the Calderon Group, that had been offered as a bribe by an undercover agent to his brother in 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice said Monday.

“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,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a press release. “Tom Calderon facilitated these bribe payments by helping to conceal his brother’s corrupt activities from the public.”

Calderon’s attorney, Shepard Kopp, said the longtime political hand from the blue collar Los Angeles suburb of Montebello was deeply remorseful for his actions.

“If he had it to do all over again he would obviously make a different decision,” Kopp said. “But it’s important to view Tom and his life and public service as a whole rather than this one episode. He’s been trying to better the lives of the people in his community on the east side of Los Angeles for more than 30 years.”

He was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder to a year and a day in custody – half of it in federal prison – and 100 hours of community service.

Calderon, a Democrat, served in the state assembly from 1998 to 2002, representing Montebello and other suburbs northeast of Los Angeles.

His brother, Ronald Calderon, 59, also of Montebello, was a Democratic state senator in 2013, when the FBI raided his office as part of the corruption case. The brothers were indicted in the case the following year. Ron Calderon, who took a leave of absence from the state Senate until his term ended in 2014, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the case and is set to be sentenced next week.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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