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Ex-State Official Gives Self Up After 4 Years on Run

May 15, 1987|United Press International

SACRAMENTO — Gilbert Chilton, a former state pension fund chairman accused of taking more than $1 million in bribes, surrendered to authorities today after eluding FBI agents for four years.

Chilton, 42, surrendered in Sacramento shortly before noon, U.S. Atty. David Levi said. He was scheduled for arraignment later in the day.

"I think Mr. Chilton was tired of being a fugitive," Levi said at a brief news conference in the Federal Building.

Chilton became a fugitive from justice in February, 1983, when he left Fresno in a $50,000 Mercedes-Benz with a young woman at his side.

The one-time Fresno savings and loan officer became one of the most elusive of the FBI's gallery of fugitives, leading agents on a search that reached Florida and the Caribbean. At one point, he was rumored to have been killed.

Chilton recently made it known to government sources that he was prepared to emerge from hiding because he was broke, weary of trying to elude the law and willing to talk.

He was appointed to the board of the State Teachers Retirement System by Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. in 1982 and became chairman within six months. In the same year, he and Controller Ken Cory approved a $50-million loan to TXPACCO, a shaky company headed by a convicted oil stock swindler, for a drilling venture in Texas.

The transaction by the three-member investment committee did not have the support of the system's staff, and outside advisers said it was a rushed deal. As questions about the loan mounted, Chilton fled California with Cheryl Ann Ciccarelli, 26, a former Las Vegas hat checker, who also surrendered to officers today.

Chilton allegedly took with him bribes of more than $1 million and $440,000 embezzled from a Fresno savings and loan firm that he served as an executive.

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