Former Calif. senator admits accepting bribes from ex-hospital CEO

Ron Calderon, a former California senator, pleaded guilty to a federal corruption charge Monday, admitting he accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from a corrupt hospital executive and FBI agents, according to the Department of Justice.

In the plea agreement, Mr. Calderon, 58, admits accepting bribes from Michael Drobot, former owner and CEO of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, Calif., which was a major provider of spinal surgeries. Mr. Drobot bribed the former senator so that he would use his public office to preserve California's "spinal pass-through" law, which allowed a hospital to pass on to insurance companies the full cost it had paid for medical hardware used during spinal surgeries.

The pass-through law helped Mr. Drobot maintain a long-running healthcare fraud scheme. He is one of nine defendants that have admitted participating in a massive fraud scheme that involved physicians receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in kickbacks.

Mr. Calderon also admitted accepting bribes from people he thought were associated with an independent film studio, but who were in fact undercover FBI agents, according to the DOJ.

The announcement of the plea deal comes after Tom Calderon, a former California assemblyman, pleaded guilty last week to money laundering and admitted that he agreed to conceal bribe payments for his brother by having the money go through his company, the Calderon Group.

The plea agreements mark the downfall of a political dynasty, according to the Los Angeles Times. One or more Calderons have been part of the California Legislature since 1982.

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