Gilbert Chilton, the former chairman of the multibillion-dollar State Teachers Retirement System, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for conspiracy in accepting a $1-million bribe.
Chilton, 43, tearfully pleading for mercy before U.S. District Judge Raul Ramirez, was sentenced for his role in a $50-million loan to an oil company headed by a convicted swindler.
Chilton, pale after nine months in custody, made no comment as Ramirez pronounced sentence. Among the spectators in the courtroom was Chilton's former wife, who wept quietly.
U.S. Atty. David Levi described Chilton's conduct as a "massive abuse of the public and private trust. . . . He was in a position of tremendous power and authority" as chairman of the three-member panel that determined pension fund investments for the retirement system.
Levi sought a minimum sentence of 18 years.
Defense lawyer Steve Bauer urged no more than eight years in prison, saying that Chilton was not a violent man and was genuinely remorseful.
Chilton, in his address to Ramirez, said he gave away "nearly $500,000" in four months to poor people and others because he was so sorry about his crime.
But Ramirez rejected Chilton's arguments, calling them "ridiculous, ludicrous."
"You blew it," Ramirez said. "You blew it constantly for six years."
Chilton will be eligible to apply for parole in five years.