gavel.jpgElsewhere: Tennis teacher accused of condo scam Chron

Prosecutors have accused a San Francisco man of allegedly stealing the identity of a woman in order to acquire three of her condominium properties valued at $7.5 million.

Winston Lum, 45, appeared in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, charged with 16 felony counts, including grand theft, identity theft and forgery. Arraignment on the charges was postponed until Feb. 9.

According to district attorney’s office spokesman Brian Buckelew, Lum, a tennis instructor, in January 2009 forged three grant deeds at the San Francisco Assessor’s Office for properties owned by the woman at the One Rincon Hill condominiums. The deeds legally transferred the titles of those properties to him.

The condominium complex is a 60-story luxury high rise at 425 First St., overlooking the Bay Bridge in the city’s South of Market District.

The properties were valued at about $7.5 million, and Lum additionally took out $2.2 million in loans against the properties, Buckelew said.

Lum is also charged with attempted grand theft for allegedly trying to later sell one of the properties in December for $1.2 million, according to Buckelew.

The alleged scheme was foiled when the victim, who did not know Lum, began receiving mail in his name at her home, became suspicious and called police.

Prosecutors did not immediately disclose how or why the woman was targeted.

District Attorney Kamala Harris in a prepared statement called the alleged crimes “an act of hubris difficult to fathom.”

Lum already has two other active criminal cases against him for grand theft and commercial burglary.

He was arrested on May 16, 2009, after allegedly stealing nearly $1,000 worth of items from a Nordstrom at the Stonestown Galleria, including a watch, cufflinks and several sunglasses, according to Buckelew.

On July 31, 2009, Lum was arrested at a Nordstrom Rack in downtown San Francisco after allegedly making off with two pairs of men’s socks, cologne, a watch and sunglasses, Buckelew said.

Both cases are also still pending.

Lum, who was arrested Thursday at his mother’s home in the Sunset District, remains in custody in lieu of $7.5 million bail, according to Buckelew.

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