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L.A. Appraiser Accused of Cutting Home Values $172 Million

A former Los Angeles appraiser was charged with lowering the property values of wealthy home and business owners by $172 million in return for campaign contributions to County Assessor John Noguez.

Scott Schenter, 49, was arrested today in Beaverton, Oregon, and is being held on $1.5 million bail, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said in a statement. The arrest is part of an investigation into allegations that Noguez cut property values of wealthy clients of a tax consultant and campaign contributor, Cooley said.

“The magnitude of Schenter’s suspected betrayal of public trust is almost inconceivable,” Cooley said. “We believe his actions are not isolated.”

Schenter, who was an appraiser from 1988 to early last year, is accused of lowering the values of multimillion-dollar homes and businesses in Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades. The unauthorized reductions were discovered by a supervisor in January of last year, according to the prosecutor.

The former appraiser faces 30 counts of falsifying accounts and 30 counts of falsifying records. If convicted, he faces as long as 33 years in state prison, Cooley said.

Noguez didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment on Schenter’s arrest.

The name of a lawyer for Schenter wasn’t immediately available from the district attorney’s office.

The case is People v. Schenter, BA397710, Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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