gavel.jpgAuthorities 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

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!