By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A former California state senator accused of taking cash bribes and gifts from a businessman and from undercover FBI agents posing as Hollywood filmmakers to steer legislation in their favor has agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud, federal prosecutors said on Monday.
Ronald Calderon, 58, a Democrat indicted in February 2014 on two dozen counts of bribery, fraud, money laundering and other charges, will enter his guilty plea this week, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles said.
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According to the plea agreement, prosecutors have agreed not to ask for a sentence of more than 70 months, although the statutory maximum for the charge is 20 years.
Calderon's attorney, Mark Geragos, could not be reached for comment.
The former lawmaker's brother, former state Assemblyman Thomas Calderon, pleaded guilty last week to a federal money-laundering charge in connection with the case.
The Calderon brothers were members of a political dynasty going back several decades in California before they were ensnared in the federal investigation.
"The Calderons have acknowledged their roles in a bribery scheme in which money for them and their families alone was driving legislation that would have benefited only a few individuals," U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said.
The 2014 indictment accused Ronald Calderon of taking bribes from California hospital owner Michael Drobot to preserve a legislative loophole that allowed Drobot to defraud the state's healthcare system out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
According to the plea agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday, Drobot hired Calderon's son while he was in college, paying him some $30,000 for three summers of work.
Drobot has agreed to plead guilty to separate federal charges and is cooperating in the case, prosecutors have said.
Calderon was also charged with accepting money from undercover FBI agents, who he thought worked for an independent Hollywood movie studio, in exchange for supporting an expansion of film tax credits in California.
According to the plea agreement, Calderon had the undercover agent hire his daughter for $3,000 a month, make a $5,000 payment toward his son's tuition, pay for $12,000 in Las Vegas trips and give $25,000 to a nonprofit group the lawmaker and his brother used to pay themselves.
In exchange, Calderon agreed to vote for the film tax legislation and hire the undercover agent's purported girlfriend for his staff, according to the plea agreement.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Alan Crosby and Peter Cooney)