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Fugitive Convicted In San Francisco Real Estate Scam Arrested

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Jay Shah (San Francisco District Attorney's Office)

Jay Shah (San Francisco District Attorney’s Office)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – 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, prosecutors said.

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 that could result in a sentence of more than 35 years in prison.

Prosecutors announced Wednesday that Shah had been apprehended. District Attorney George Gascon was holding a news conference at noon Thursday to provide more details about the arrest.

Shah and four other people allegedly developed the One Rincon Hill scheme.

The group put three condos belonging to an unwitting resident under a conspirator’s name, took out loans against the properties and drained them of their equity, then laundered the money through shell companies, according to the district attorney’s office. The condos were valued at about $5.5 million total.

A co-defendant in the case is Kaushal Niroula, who has been dubbed the “Dark Prince” for his role in the case and a separate murder case in Riverside County. He was convicted of the murder and is awaiting sentencing in that case in Southern California.

Another co-defendant, 48-year-old Winston Lum, was convicted on Sept. 19 of six felony counts of grand theft and filing false documents.

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 a new trial.

The fifth alleged scammer, Grachelle Languban, remains at large and authorities believe she may have fled to the Philippines.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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