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Friday, June 5, 2009

Alleged Latino Mortgage Fraudster Accused of Preying on Own Community Headed to Court

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 3:01 PM

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Edwin Parada, a Mission-based real estate and mortgage broker who allegedly stole from Spanish-speaking immigrants seeking to buy, sell, or re-finance their homes, has been charged by San Francisco's district attorney with 24 criminal counts, including grand theft and tax evasion.

We wrote a cover story on Paradas' alleged misdealings last year, when police investigators estimated he may have pocketed more than $1 million. The investigation has since rounded up 27 families who claim they were bilked by Parada for more than $2 million. And Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes the Mission, says there are 15 more families that may have been affected but have not yet come forward.

"This is a very smooth, sophisticated operator," Campos said before an event at his office to celebrate the pending trial with some of the alleged victim families Friday afternoon. "He's preying on the undocumented and Spanish-speaking population, who may not know the rules and protections that exist here. There's probably more families that have been affected but haven't come forward because of shame. You feel like you've been duped."

Campos says he originally met four families complaining about Parada at a meeting on foreclosures sponsored by the non-profit Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) while he was serving as a police commissioner. Campos said he called Police Chief Heather Fong to assign an investigator to the case, and, together with MEDA, did outreach to find more victims. The DA added 16 more criminal counts just last week, and the victims are pushing for a speedy trial, he says.  

"Credit goes to the DA's office and the police for working on this issue," Campos said. "The DA just added more charges and is sending the message that this is not going to be tolerated in San Francisco."

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Lauren Smiley

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