Former CalPERS CEO pleads guilty to conspiracy

Federico Buenrostro will plead guilty to a pay-for-play scheme while he was serving as CalPERS CEO. 

Federico Buenrostro, former CEO of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, will plead guilty to conspiracy charges alleging that he backdated documents in order to help a placement agent get paid and then lied about it, according to a statement from his attorney made during court proceedings in California yesterday.  

The plea deal for Buenrostro – who had previously publicly maintained his innocence – could be completed as early as next week.  

Buenrostro’s attorney also said that he had provided information to prosecutors on former CalPERS board member Alfred J. Villalobos, who acted as an intermediary between the public pension system and Apollo Global Management. According to the attorney, Villalobos used the backdated documentation to get some $14 million in fees from Apollo, which took the document as evidence of approval from CalPERS.

Both men are currently charged with conspiracy, although federal prosecutor Timothy Lucey has said that a new indictment will be filed and could include additional charges.

An investigative report done for CalPERS in the wake of the scandal showed that the pension fund likely paid millions of dollars in extra fees as a result of the actions of both men.

Attorneys for Villalobos declined to comment on the matter.

“CalPERS looks forward to the closure of these cases at the appropriate time in the due course of the justice system,” the pension fund said in a statement issued shortly after Monday’s court hearing.