LOS ANGELES (2UrbanGirls) – The ongoing bribery case against former Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez took an unexpected turn when his alleged co-conspirator openly testified about how the bribery worked in order to secure a plea deal.
Tax consultant Ramin Salari is accused of bribing Noguez and took a plea with prosecutors that called for him to plead guilty to a single charge and pay more than $9 million in penalties in exchange for a sentence that spared him from time in prison.
Under the terms of the deal, 11 counts of conspiracy, bribery, and grand theft were to be whittled down to a conviction for grand theft and Salari would get two years’ felony probation and 45 days’ community service, according to court records.
Salari’s attorney then offered for him to spill the beans in order to secure the deal.
Salari then spent two hours with prosecutors coming clean, providing “a detailed account of his role in the charged crimes, incriminating himself and others in the process,” according to court records filed by his lawyer. He revealed how he allegedly had funneled at least $180,000 in payoffs to the county assessor’s staff 13 years ago, enlightening prosecutors to details of which prosecutors had been unaware, the records show.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus hemmed and hawed and ultimately found the deal “too lenient”.
“Somebody has to go to jail,” said Marcus.
Noguez was a city councilmember in Huntington Park who was then elected Assessor. He was arrested in 2012 but continued to receive a taxpayer-funded paycheck until 2014 when his term expired.
He was succeeded by Jeffrey Prang who used to be a senior advisor to former Sheriff Lee Baca and still relies on Steve Whitmore for communication services.
Prang is currently in the middle of a lawsuit where employees are alleging the same shenanigans that were going on under Noguez continue under him.