Authorities have arrested a man who went on the lam last month while out on bail as a verdict against him was pending in a case related to a complicated scam at San Francisco’s One Rincon Hill residential tower.
Jay Shah, 48, posted bail and then failed to appear in court on Sept. 19 when a San Francisco Superior Court jury found him guilty of 13 felony counts of grand theft, money laundering and other fraud charges, which could lead to a sentence of more than 35 years in prison.
After traveling to cities including Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, Shah was eventually arrested Wednesday outside a Days Inn in Watsonville after authorities learned he was in the area, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said at a news conference today.
“He was on a road trip, basically,” Gascon said.
Shah, who could face additional charges for fleeing, was arrested along with a second person, although prosecutors were not releasing information about that individual today, citing the ongoing investigation.
Shah will return to court on Nov. 8 to set a sentencing date along with co-defendant Winston Lum, 48, who was also convicted on Sept. 19 of various fraud charges.
The two were part of a group that allegedly developed a scheme involving an unwitting woman who owned three condominiums at One Rincon Hill that were valued at a total of about $5.5 million, prosecutors said.
The group filed false documents to put the condos under a conspirator’s name, took out loans against the properties and drained them of their equity, then laundered the money through shell companies.
Another co-defendant in the case is Kaushal Niroula, who has been dubbed the “Dark Prince” for his role in the scam and other cases, including a murder in Riverside County. Niroula was found guilty of the murder and is awaiting sentencing in that case.
A jury hung on charges against a fourth defendant, Melvin Emerich, who is due back in court later this month to set a date for the new trial.
A fifth alleged scammer, Grachelle Languban, remains at large and authorities believe she may have fled to the Philippines.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News