Ex-CalPERS official facing fraud charges said to be too sick to come to court

Alfred J.R. Villalobos was a central figure in an influence-peddling scandal that rocked CalPERS in 2009-11

A former state pension fund board member, awaiting trial next month on federal fraud, bribery and other criminal charges, is too sick to come to court, his lawyer said Monday.

Alfred J.R. Villalobos, 71, of Reno was a central figure in an influence-peddling scandal that rocked the California Public Employees' Retirement System in 2009-11. He was scheduled for trial in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Feb. 23.

But in legal filings Monday, Villalobos' attorney, Bruce C. Funk, said his client "was incoherent" and "had difficulty communicating and following a conversation."

Villalobos, Funk said, "has not been in condition to help counsel prepare for trial or prepare for the pretrial conference" set for Feb. 3 before District Court Judge Charles Breyer.

Villalobos has pleaded not guilty.

Funk's request to postpone the trial will be addressed at a hearing Wednesday.

An August 2014 criminal indictment charges Villalobos with conspiring with a friend, the former chief executive of CalPERS, to create phony documents to satisfy a request for legitimate documentation from Apollo Management. Villalobos served as Apollo's agent in securing a $3-billion CalPERS investment deal with the Wall Street firm.

Apollo, which is not charged with any wrongdoing, paid Villalobos $14 million in fees for helping to get the contract.

Villalobos delivered $250,000 in alleged bribes to former CalPERS CEO Federico Buenrostro Jr., who retired in 2008, according to court documents. Buenrostro has pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy and has agreed to cooperate with federal officials in Villalobos' prosecution.

Neither Villalobos nor his lawyer could be contacted. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in San Francisco declined to comment.

marc.lifsher@latimes.com

Twitter: @MarcLifsher

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