SACRAMENTO — A federal grand jury Thursday handed down new and expanded corruption charges against investment deal "placement agent" Alfred J.R. Villalobos, a central figure in the 2009 influence-peddling scandal that rocked the country's largest public pension fund.
The new indictment, superseding one last month, accuses the former board member of the
Villalobos, 64, of Reno, also is accused of defrauding the United States, engaging in a scheme to conceal material facts, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, said Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney in San Francisco.
Villalobos, who could not be reached late Thursday, has maintained that he committed no wrongdoing while he brokered investment commitments between the Sacramento pension fund and Wall Street firms. He has not entered a plea on the new charges. But a hearing on his case is set for Friday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
According to the later of two criminal indictments, Villalobos conspired with CalPERS Chief Executive Federico Buenrostro Jr. to create phony documents sought by Apollo Global Management to finalize an investment contract between Apollo and CalPERS. Villalobos received $14 million in fees from Apollo for the deals.
In turn, the government said, Villalobos personally delivered $250,000 to Buenrostro and gave him gifts, travel and even an all-expenses-paid wedding at Villalobos' Lake Tahoe mansion.
Buenrostro, who pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy last month, has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in its investigation of Villalobos' role in the CalPERS scandal.
If convicted, Villalobos could face a prison sentence of more than 20 years, fines of more than $500,000 and forfeiture of property related to any of the crimes. He and Buenrostro currently are free on bond.