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State senator accused of workers' comp fraud

Corruption in politics is a running joke among comedians, but the situation involving State Sen. Ron Calderon is no laughing matter. The Democratic senator who represents several southeastern Los Angeles suburbs, including Bell Gardens and Montibello, has been accused of workers' compensation fraud.

Specifically, federal prosecutors believe that Calderon has taken $100,000 in exchange for his influence in the state legislature in pushing workers compensation legislation. He is accused of accepting trips to Las Vegas, paid non-working jobs for his son and daughter as well as cash gifts. Most notably, he is alleged to have accepted bribes from a former hospital owner in Long Beach, who recently pled guilty to orchestrating a $500 million scheme to defraud workers' comp insurance providers. The man is expected to testify against Calderon in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Calderon allegedly accepted bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as the owner of a movie studio in Los Angeles who sought Calderon's influence in passing a bill that would expand tax credits for the film industry. The accused senator also faces charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and aiding in the filing of false tax returns. If convicted, he faces a long prison term.

The story is an example of how workers' compensation fraud is a serious, and complex problem that involves people across a number of disciplines. As such, experienced attorneys are necessary to protect the integrity of the system.

Meanwhile, Calderon has been relieved of his legislative committee duties. He reportedly has a choice of taking an indefinite leave of absence, or resigning his post.

Source: "California Senator pleads not guilty in workers' comp fraud," Linda Deutsch, Feb. 25, 2014

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