Accused SF realtor gets trial date

January 13, 2009 12:02:34 PM PST
A former realtor accused of bilking members of San Francisco's Hispanic community out of nearly $800,000 is scheduled to stand trial in February after being arraigned Wednesday on multiple counts of grand theft.

Edwin Parada, 30, pleaded not guilty today in San Francisco Superior Court to eight felony counts of grand theft and an allegation of taking money in excess of $200,000. A judge held him to answer on the charges on Dec. 29 after a five-day preliminary hearing.

A trial date was scheduled for Feb. 27, but Parada's previous attorney was relieved from the case and he is waiting to be assigned a new attorney from the public defender's office.

Parada remains in custody on $750,000 bail.

Prosecutors allege Parada, who was arrested in July, persuaded at least eight people -- who came to his real estate office in the Outer Mission neighborhood looking for help buying, selling or refinancing homes -- to give him the money as either an investment, a loan or for him to hold for unspecified reasons.

The alleged crimes took place between 2005 and 2007, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Parada, who also owned several restaurants in the area, gained notoriety in the community through a Spanish-language radio program he hosted on real estate and religion.