Ex-CalPERS CEO Sentenced to Prison

Fred Buenrostro will spend four and a half years in jail on bribery charges after confessing to a pay-to-play scheme.

buenrostroA federal court has sentenced the former CEO of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) on charges that he accepted bribes from a former board member and placement agent.

Ex-CEO Fred Buenrostro, who led the $293 billion fund from 2002 to 2008, confessed in 2014 to taking $200,000 in cash and a series of other bribes from Alfred Villalobos, then a placement agent for Apollo Global Management.

He was sentenced Tuesday to four-and-a-half years in prison, according to the Sacramento Bee. Buenrostro was already being held in jail on unrelated charges of committing battery against an ex-girlfriend, the report said.

“This chapter in our history is now behind us, and CalPERS has emerged a stronger, more dynamic organization,” said current CEO Anne Stausboll in a statement. “Over the past seven years, we have built a lasting, principled foundation for future success. More than ever, we’re focused on our service to our members and employers and to ensuring that the CalPERS fund is secure for generations to come.”

Stausboll, who is retiring this month, had previously condemned the misconduct of Buenrostro and Villalobos, promising in 2012 that CalPERS leaders would “do everything in our power to never allow the system to be compromised by personal gain.”

Since 2009, CalPERS said it has put in place several “critical measures” to strengthen internal controls and risk management, including requiring external managers to disclose placement agent terms and requiring those agents to register as lobbyists. Board members and staff have also been limited to a total of $50 per calendar year in gifts from any one person doing business or seeking to do business with the fund.

“We are stewards of a sacred trust, and it must never be compromised for personal gain,” said CalPERS Board of Administration President Rob Feckner in a statement. “As an organization, we’ve taken meaningful steps to strengthen accountability and transparency throughout CalPERS. We’ll continue to work to make sure these measures are rigorously followed and that we hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards.”

Related: Cash, Casino Chips, and CalPERS: Confessions of a Former CEO & Key Player in CalPERS Bribery Scandal Dies Before Trial