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County Tax Assessor John Noguez bond-reduction request denied

February 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
For a third time, a judge has refused to lower bail for Los Angeles County Tax Assessor John Noguez. He's accused of lowering property tax bills in exchange for campaign contributions.

John Noguez is the alleged mastermind behind a scheme to lower property tax assessments in exchange for cash for his campaign. He allegedly cost Los Angeles County more than $1 million in property tax revenue.

Noguez has been in jail since October, held on $1.1 million bond. His attorneys wanted bail lowered to $600,000. Noguez has taken a leave of absence.

"He just remains in custody and we've now established that he can't meet the bail that was set in October," said Michael Proctor, Noguez's attorney.

Noguez and his supporters have raised money to make a lower bail. After his arrest investigators swarmed through his home and collected boxes of potential evidence.

Also charged in the case are deputy assessor Mark McNeil and Noguez tax agent Ramin Salari. They all allegedly conspired to lower property tax assessments in exchange for campaign contributions.

Prosecutors don't see a reason to lower the Noguez bail.

"Mr. Noguez has had two bail hearings," said L.A County Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman. "This court has properly set his bail based on the amount of loss."

Judge Shelly Torrealba didn't buy into the Noguez defense arguments.

"Your client's inability to post this bail is not the concern. The concern is the protection of the public, the amount of loss, and I assume for purposes of this bail hearing and anything that comes before me on this issue, that the facts are true," said Torrealba.

Based on what his attorney said, Noguez will remain in jail unable to make bail. The next hearing is scheduled for February 28 to set a date for a preliminary hearing for the trial.


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