A man who has been on the run since being found guilty of felony grand theft, money laundering and other fraud charges stemming from a San Francisco real estate scam has been arrested, authorities announced Thursday.
District Attorney George Gascón said Jay Shah, age 48, was apprehended on Wednesday at the Days Inn in Watsonville.
“As soon as we found out that the defendant was on the run, we worked collaboratively with SFPD and other state and federal agencies,” Gascón said in a prepared statement.
Shah posted $7.5 million bail and then failed to appear when the verdict was read in court. A jury found Shah guilty of 13 felony counts that could lead to a sentence of more than 35 years in prison, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.
The jury also found Shah's co-defendant, 48-year-old Winston Lum, guilty on Wednesday of six felony counts of filing false documents and grand theft. Lum remains in custody.
The pair and three other people allegedly developed a complicated scam to transfer control of a woman's three condominiums at the One Rincon Hill residential tower.
The group put the condos, valued at $5.5 million, under a conspirator's name, took out loans against the properties, drained them of their equity and then laundered the money through shell companies, prosecutors said.
One of the members of the group was Kaushal Nirouda, 31, who has been dubbed the "Dark Prince" for his role in the case and a separate murder case in Riverside County.
Nirouda fraudulently took the title to the murder victim's home and tried to sell it. He has been convicted in the case and is awaiting sentencing, and also has a pending case in Marin County where he allegedly stole $300,000 in jewelry from a woman, according to the district attorney's office.
The fourth defendant in the San Francisco case, Melvin Emerich, 60, was charged with eight felony counts but the jury hung on some charges and found him not guilty of others. He is due back in court on Oct. 25 to set a date for a new jury trial.
The fifth alleged scammer, Grachelle Languban, remains outstanding and is believed to have fled to the Philippines.
Shah’s next court date is November 8 in Dept. 19 at 10am to set a sentencing date.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.