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CA Department of Insurance

Former Senator Ron Calderon pleads guilty and admits taking bribes from hospital CEO

News: 2016 Press Release

For Release: June 13, 2016
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Former Senator Ron Calderon pleads guilty and admits taking bribes from hospital CEO who conspired to commit workers’ compensation fraud
Department of Insurance investigation led to case against state lawmaker

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The United States Attorney for the Central District announced today that former California State Senator Ronald S. Calderon has agreed to plead guilty to a federal corruption charge and admits in a plea agreement filed today that he accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for performing official acts as a legislator.

Ron Calderon, 58, of Montebello, agreed to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud through the deprivation of honest services to resolve a case against him that was filed in 2014. The plea agreement comes several weeks before Ron Calderon was scheduled to go on trial on charges contained in a 24-count federal indictment.

"The corruption investigation of former Senator Calderon began when our detectives at the California Department of Insurance discovered evidence that Michael Drobot, then owner and CEO of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, was bribing Senator Calderon," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Detectives from the California Department of Insurance successfully investigated the scheme whereby Drobot was paying kickbacks to physicians, chiropractors and others to send him patients on which his hospital performed back surgeries — resulting in over $500 million of workers' compensation fraud."

In the plea agreement, Ron Calderon admits accepting bribe payments from the owner of a Long Beach hospital who wanted to prevent passage of a new law that would stop the hospital CEO from continuing to reap millions of dollars in illicit profits from a separate workers' compensation insurance fraud scheme and from undercover FBI agents who were posing as independent filmmakers who wanted changes to California's Film Tax Credit program.

"Corruption by public and private officials is reprehensible and we will pursue it to the full extent of the law," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "I want to thank the hard working men and women of the California Department of Insurance who, with their federal law enforcement colleagues, contributed significantly to holding accountable the public and private officials involved in this case of workers' compensation fraud and public corruption."

Michael Drobot, former owner of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, a major provider of spinal surgeries billed to the workers' compensation system, admitted to bribing former Senator Ron Calderon to influence lawmaking and ensure he could continue to defraud workers' compensation insurers with his lucrative criminal scheme.

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Media Notes:

  • Link to news releases on Drobot case.

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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