LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, who has been on leave as investigators probed allegations that his office reduced property tax assessments in exchange for campaign contributions, was arrested today, a District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said.
Climaxing a yearlong investigation, the arrest will be discussed at a late-morning news conference by District Attorney Steve Cooley, said D.A. spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons.
An election contribution-tax reduction tradeoff scheme may have been going on for more than a decade at the assessor’s office, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
A county property valuation appraiser named Scott Schenter is suspected of engineering improper tax breaks for up to a decade. Schenter, who has been arrested, and faces up to 30 years in prison, told The Times that Noguez had pressured him to lower tax assessments and extract campaign contributions.
Noguez has denied wrongdoing. He has been on an unpaid leave of absence while the investigation was under way, including into allegations that improper tax breaks were granted to more than 100 wealthy Westside property owners since Noguez’s election in 2010.
District Attorney’s Office investigators took Noguez into custody at his Huntington Park home around 8:20 a.m., The Times reported. He was wearing black shorts, a blue shirt and a baseball cap when he answered his front door but changed his clothes before being led to a white unmarked vehicle as neighbors watched from a distance.
Noguez is expected to appear in court for his arraignment this afternoon, according to The Times.
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