About six months before John Noguez was elected Los Angeles County assessor, he received an $80,000 check from his old friend and prominent property tax consultant, Ramin Salari. Over the next few months, Salari cut Noguez two more checks, for a total of $180,000.
In return, authorities say, assessor officials began giving tax breaks to many of Salari's clients.
Prosecutors on Wednesday alleged that the payments to Noguez — and an additional $100,000 given to a lower-level assessor's official — were bribes to illegally reduce the values of properties so that Salari's clients would pay less in taxes. The alleged scam deprived the county of at least $1.16 million in tax revenue, according to prosecutors.