San Francisco, CA – District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced today that her office secured a conviction of Maher Soliman (69) of San Francisco, CA, for falsely holding himself out as an attorney to convince a victim to hire and pay him, and for later using illegal threats to try and collect even more money. After a trial by jury, Mr. Soliman was convicted of one felony count of grand theft by false pretense (PC 487(a)), and two felony counts of extortion (PC 523(a)).
“People look to hire attorneys when they are at their most vulnerable,” said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “Unfortunately, that can make them targets for fraud. People falsely posing as lawyers to defraud others, as Mr. Soliman did, should know that they can and will be prosecuted and held accountable.”
According to testimony and other evidence presented at trial, Soliman, who has never been a licensed attorney, told the victim, among other things, that he was a federal prosecutor, and he also required the victim to enter into a fraudulent Attorney Client Fee Agreement. In reliance on those false pretenses, the victim hired Mr. Soliman and paid him $18,500. Later, Mr. Soliman attempted to collect an additional $2,000 by threatening to accuse the victim of committing a crime and to report the victim’s suspected immigration status.
The case against was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Angela Fisher and Erin Loback. They were assisted by District Attorney Inspector Eric Karsseboom.
“Our legal system relies on trustworthy, competent, and qualified attorneys,” said Assistant District Attorney Angela Fisher. “Untrustworthy individuals masquerading as attorneys put that system at risk. Anyone seeking to hire an attorney can confirm if a person is licensed to practice law in California by searching the California State Bar’s online directory,”
Mr. Soliman is out of custody pending sentencing. He faces more than four years in State Prison. A sentencing hearing will be set at the next court appearance on September 11, 2023.
Court Number: 19006564