Bell corruption case: Secret formula used to bilk city, prosecutor says

City Corruption Trial

Al Seib/Pool/AP

Former assistant city manager of Bell, Angela Spaccia, center, who is charged with misappropriation of public funds and other counts, listens to opening statements in Los Angeles Superior Court, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Spaccia is accused of setting exorbitantly high salaries for city employees and devising a paper trail to hide them. Her annual salary was $375,000.

Prosecutors say a former assistant city manager and her boss for a working-class suburb of Los Angeles crippled by corruption used a secret formula to bilk the city out of millions of dollars.

Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman said Wednesday in the trial of Angela Spaccia that she boosted her own salary and gave herself additional benefits that were outside the public's purview.

Spaccia faces 13 counts, including misappropriation of funds. If convicted, she faces up to 16 years in state prison.

Spaccia's lawyer has argued his client thought her annual salary that topped out at more than $370,000 was legitimate because ex-Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo told her it was.

Rizzo recently pleaded no contest to 69 counts and will be sentenced to no more than 10 to 12 years in prison.

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