Suspect In Assessor Investigation Pleads Not Guilty
Posted by Rosana Clarkson on May 31, 2012 - 8:50:43 PM
PACIFIC PALISADES—On May 25, a suspect in a Los Angeles
County Assessor investigation involving allegations that he falsified
documents in connection to property values, pleaded not guilty.
49-year-old Scott Schenter, a former appraiser for the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office, is accused of falsifying department documents and illegally lowering property values to $172 million; the defendant pleaded not guiltyto 60 felony counts in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office reports that Schenter had worked as a county appraiser from 1988 to early 2011, during which he allegedly trimmed down values on multi-million dollar homes, condos and businesses in Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades.
Schenter is additionally charged with securing campaign contributions from the owners of said homes and businesses for Assessor John Noguez.
"The magnitude of Schenter's suspected betrayal of public trust is almost inconceivable," L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley quoted in a prepared statement. "We believe his actions aren't isolated."
Schenter was arrested on May 21 in Beaverton, Oregon; his arrest is part of a probe conducted in 2011 by the D.A.'s Public Division in connection to allegations that Noguez and fellow staff members had unlawfully decreased property values for wealthy clients of Ramin Salari, a tax consultant and campaign contributor to Noguez.
Deputy District Attorney Susan Schwartz reportedly filed a felony complaint for an arrest warrant on May 16, charging Schenter with 30 counts of falsifying records.
Schwartz reported that reimbursement checks were issued to property owners in the first 30 counts. In the second 30, devaluations were reversed before further reimbursements were issued.
Schenter remains in custody on $1.5 million bail. The defendant has a new hearing slated for June 5, and may receive up to 33 years in prison if convicted.
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