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Charges Refiled Against John Noguez, Ramin Salari, and Mark McNiel

BY BRIAN HEWS • July 29, 2020

District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that her office has refiled  78 felony charges against former Assessor John Noguez, Ramin Salari and Mark McNiel in the largest public corruption scheme in Los Angeles’ history that began 10 years ago.

Los Cerritos Community News was the first to break details of the scheme and published more than 100 articles on the case. The case eventually garnered national media attention for months, a Los Angeles Press Club Award, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

The saga began when LCCN found that during his election for Assessor, Noguez raised millions from  donors, giving people a free pass to the Assesor’s office that would translate into millions in property tax reductions

 

‘Pay to Play Politics’ Rampant at LA County Assessor Office

 

And only a few short months the district attorney open an investigation into Noguez and others.

 

DISTRICT ATTORNEY OPENS OFFICIAL INQUIRY INTO ASSESSOR’S ACTIVITIES

 

In October 17, 2012, Noguez was arrested on over 40 counts of conspiracy, bribery, and corruption. The original complaint alleged that Noguez accepted $185,000 in bribes from Salari between February and September 2010 but several charges were added later.

County Assessor John Noguez Arrested In Corruption Investigation

 

An appellate court ordered the matter dismissed on a technical violation in May of this year. In a criminal complaint filed Monday, prosecutors basically re- accused Noguez and others of their past crimes.

The DA alleged that Noguez, along with Mark McNeil, a top official in the assessor’s office, and Arizona tax consultant Ramin Salari participated in a scheme in which Noguez would accept bribes to illegally lower the values of properties across greater L.A. so that Salari’s clients would pay less in taxes.

Noguez  faces an additional three counts of accepting bribes, two counts of embezzlement by a public or private officer, and one count of public records violation. Salari was slammed with seven counts of grand theft, nine counts of embezzlement, and 23 counts of bribing an executive officer.

On Monday, the three defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and are scheduled to return on August 12.

If convicted as charged, Noguez faces a  maximum sentence of 36 years; Salari faces 59 years in prison and McNeil faces 22 years.

Bail on Monday was set at $1.16 million for each defendant. The three were not taken into custody after the new case was filed as the bond was carried over from the previous case.

No trial date has been set.

 

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2 Responses to Charges Refiled Against John Noguez, Ramin Salari, and Mark McNiel

  1. Albert Perdon Reply

    July 29, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for bringing

  2. Albert Perdon Reply

    July 29, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for bringing this issue into the spotlight. I’m concerned that our entire system of governance is flawed and that the focus on John Noguez detracts from the bigger issue of how the conflict of interest that is inherent in serving the public interest and the personal election/re-election interest of office holders/candidates can be resolved. That said, I believe we should let our justice system do its work and that we not judge John’s guilt or innocence until the work is completed. We should also question why it takes 10 years to resolve the legal issues.

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