A dozen new felony charges face LA County Assessor John Noguez and tax consultant Ramin Salari, according to the latest update in the ongoing corruption case. Both Noguez and Salari are accused of operating a pay-to-play scheme in which Salari paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get property taxes lowered for his clients.
The new charges include grand theft and embezzlement. Noguez was already facing more than 30 felony counts and faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted on all charges, while Salari is looking at 75.
Both men pleaded not guilty on Monday.
Noguez technically still holds the title of LA County Assessor and has been on paid leave, collecting his nearly $200,000 salary for over a year.
In order to be removed from office, Noguez must either be convicted of a crime or wait until the regularly-scheduled November 2014 election.
The alleged pay-to-play scheme came to light in early 2012 after county appraisers complained that they were pressured by their boss to reduce assessed values of Salari’s properties.
The position of LA County Assessor oversees more than 2.5 million piece of real estate, making it the largest local tax jurisdiction in the nation.
Read the full article at the Los Angeles Times.