SAN FRANCISCO—On Monday, April 29, SF District Attorney George Gascón revealed that Maher Soliman, 66, of San Francisco, 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 individual paid him thousands of dollars.

“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, back in 2014 Soliman offered to represent an individual in a civil lawsuit against various local businesses in San Francisco.

According to a news release from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Soliman informed the victim he was an attorney and that a partner in his law practice would assist in the lawsuit. The victim paid the defendant approximately $20,000 for legal representation in the lawsuit. Soliman was not licensed to practice law and he was not a member of any law practice with another attorney.

In 2018, Soliman threatened to accuse the same individual of a crime where he would go to jail for six years unless he paid the defendant an additional $2,000. He threatened to cause the individual to be stripped of his citizenship.

Soliman was arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court 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. He entered a plea of not guilty.

The SFDA’s Office is alerting individuals who are looking to retain an attorney to confirm if they are licensed by searching the California State Bar’s online directory.