The former chief executive of CalPERS, already facing prison time for taking bribes, has been hit with a federal arrest warrant after he was jailed in Sacramento on charges of committing battery against a former girlfriend.
A federal magistrate judge in San Francisco issued the warrant Monday for former CalPERS CEO Fred Buenrostro after a pretrial services officer argued that Buenrostro’s battery arrest constituted a violation of the terms of his bail in the bribery case. Buenrostro, 66, who has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes, had been free on bond since his indictment in the federal case three years ago.
As a practical matter, the federal arrest warrant probably means Buenrostro will be escorted by law enforcement officials directly from the Sacramento County main jail to a federal courtroom in San Francisco for his sentencing on bribery charges next month, said his lawyer William Portanova.
Buenrostro has been in the county jail since Saturday night following his second arrest this year on misdemeanor battery charges. The first time, he was sentenced to 60 days home confinement after pleading no contest.
Prosecutors decided against pursuing a case against Buenrostro on the second arrest, said Shelly Orio, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office.
Nevertheless, the fact that he made contact with the former girlfriend means he has violated the plea agreement in the earlier battery case, Portanova said. As a result, he is serving the balance of the 60-day sentence behind bars instead of at home. Jail records show he is due to complete that sentence May 22.
Buenrostro is scheduled to be sentenced in the federal case four days earlier, on May 18, for his role in the CalPERS bribery scandal. Portanova said the sentencing could get pushed back a week or so. Whether it’s delayed or not, the federal arrest warrant means he’ll stay in the Sacramento jail after the 60-day sentence is up and “the marshals will transport him to federal court,” Portanova said.
Buenrostro admitted in 2014 that he accepted more than $250,000 in cash and other bribes from Alfred Villalobos, a Lake Tahoe businessman who was seeking CalPERS investment deals for his clients. Buenrostro ran the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest public pension fund, from 2002 to 2008.
Villalobos, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, was found shot to death in Reno in January 2015. Police said the death was suicide.