Phony Attorney Arrested For Fraud And Extortion
News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2019
CONTACT: ALEX BASTIAN (415) 553-1931 | MAX SZABO (415) 553-9089
PHONY ATTORNEY ARRESTED FOR FRAUD AND EXTORTION
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, District Attorney George Gascón announced that Maher Soliman, age 66, of San Francisco, CA, was charged with fraud and extortion for falsely holding himself out as an attorney and for threatening to accuse a victim of various crimes unless the victim paid him thousands of dollars. Soliman was arraigned today in San Francisco Superior Court.
“This con-artist abused his supposed position as a member of the legal profession to steal thousands of dollars and to terrorize someone who was merely looking for help,” said District Attorney George Gascón.
According to court records, in 2014 Soliman offered to represent an individual in a civil lawsuit against several local businesses in San Francisco. Soliman told the victim that he was an attorney and that a partner in his law practice would also assist in the lawsuit. The individual paid Soliman approximately $20,000 for legal representation in the lawsuit. In reality, Soliman was not licensed to practice law and he was not part of a law practice with another attorney.
In 2018, Soliman threatened to accuse the same individual of a crime for which he would go to jail for six years unless he paid Soliman an additional $2,000. Soliman also threatened to cause the individual to be stripped of his citizenship.
Soliman was arraigned today on two counts of felony grand theft and two counts of felony extortion. He is also charged with unlawfully holding himself out as practicing law, a misdemeanor. Soliman entered a plea of not guilty.
Anyone seeking to retain an attorney can confirm if a person is licensed by searching the California State Bar’s online directory.
The arrest of Soliman is the result of an investigation by San Francisco District Attorney Inspector Eric Tejada. San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Theis Finlev is prosecuting the case.