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He's No Angel 

They once called him a savior who helped people in need. Today, Edwin Parada is accused of taking money from Latinos unfamiliar with real estate laws.

Wednesday, Jun 18 2008
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Page 5 of 5

Marcelos had no idea about the law when he was handed that thick stack of closing documents he couldn't understand. Today he knows better.

"When, we started, it was just the two of us against the broker, the bank, the whole system," Marcelos says. "Now, it doesn't matter if we win or lose because we've come out stronger having waged the fight, and in the process have helped many people. That's what counts."

Others aren't so optimistic. Sitting in her tiny living room on furniture she's been able to find on the street and holding her wriggling one-year-old grandson Antonio in her lap, Carmen Ruiz says she has contemplated suicide many times. The only thing stopping her is the knowledge that if she dies, there would be no one to look after her grandchildren.

"I am so tired," she says. "Some days I want my cancer to spread all over my brain so I won't know what's going on anymore. I just want to forget. ... It cost me years of work to have my house, and this man came along and took it from me. He took the title, he took my money, he even took some of the furniture that I had. He has left me with nothing."

About The Author

Karina Ioffee

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