Business & Real Estate

Sentencing postponed again in CalPERS bribery case

Former CalPERS Chief Executive Officer Fred Buenrostro, testifying at an Assembly hearing in 2005 on public pensions.
Former CalPERS Chief Executive Officer Fred Buenrostro, testifying at an Assembly hearing in 2005 on public pensions. Sacramento Bee file photo

The sentencing of CalPERS’ former chief executive on bribery charges was postponed Wednesday for a fourth time.

Fred Buenrostro, who pleaded guilty in July 2014 to accepting bribes, was supposed to be sentenced Dec. 10 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Instead, prosecutors and his defense lawyer agreed to postpone sentencing to next May 18, according to papers filed in court this week. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer approved the postponement.

Buenrostro, who is expected to receive a five-year prison term, has been free on bond.

Buenrostro admitting taking more than $250,000 in cash and other bribes from the late Alfred Villalobos, a “placement agent” representing private-equity firms seeking investments from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Villalobos earned roughly $50 million in commissions after securing billions in CalPERS’ money for his clients.

Villalobos pleaded not guilty to bribery charges. Police say he shot himself to death in Reno in January, weeks before he was scheduled to go on trial.

Although his death essentially ended the criminal case, Buenrostro’s sentencing is being postponed again “in order to permit Mr. Buenrostro’s ongoing cooperation with the government,” according to this week’s court filing. Two civil lawsuits are still pending against Buenrostro and the Villalobos estate, one by the state of California and another by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Buenrostro was originally supposed to be sentenced last January.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler

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