Mission district Madoff charged with $25 million scheme

An avalanche of charges came down Friday morning on a 31-year-old San Francisco real estate investor indicted in a $25 million ponzi scheme that victimized more than 80 people in the Mission district and the Haight.

Maher Talal Muhawieh lied to his victims to get them to lend him money while he was either using the cash to pay off other debts or transfer the money elsewhere, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In one case he told victims that he would use their money to renovate a property in The City and then turn the property for a profit.

“Muhawieh instead used the lenders’ funds to pay interest on loans from other lenders, for personal expenses and to invest in retail businesses located in San Francisco,” the indictment said.

He made an initial appearance in federal court Friday and was charged with 12 counts of wire fraud. He has posted a $375,000 bond and is scheduled to return for his next appearance on Sept. 21.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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