Sat07262014

News

Los Altos Hills fugitive arrested, LAPD assist in case


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Shah

A Los Altos Hills resident evading custody after conviction on numerous white-collar crimes was found and arrested Oct. 3 in Watsonville, according to law enforcement officials.

Jay Chandrakant Shah, 48, was convicted Sept. 19 of 13 felony counts, including grand theft, money laundering, forgery, filing forged documents and conspiracy. Shah posted $1 million bail but failed to appear for the verdict. A new sentencing hearing is scheduled Nov. 9.

Shah, one of five co-conspirators in a massive fraud case, faces more than 35 years in prison. Along with Winston Lum, Melvin Emerich, Kaushal Nirouda (also wanted for murder) and Grachelle C. Languban, Shah was charged with a conspiracy involving the fraudulent transfer of a woman’s three luxury condominiums at One Rincon Hill in San Francisco, valued at $5.5 million.

According to the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, the defendants fraudulently put the properties into a conspirator’s name, quickly took out loans against them, drained the properties of equity and laundered the proceeds through shell companies. When the victim checked with the city’s assessor-recorder, the deal was already complete.

The scheme also involved an elaborate series of con-man-type tricks and impersonations. Nirouda and Lum impersonated a series of characters to gain access to One Rincon Hill, obtain the keys to the units and convince the bank that they were the owners. Shah arranged the financing and escrow services to handle the anticipated loan through his extensive business contacts.

Shah and his attorney, Emerich, prepared the instructions for distributing the loan proceeds. The initial investigation revealed that most of the $2.2 million in loan money was allegedly paid either to a Nevada company or deposited into a Swiss bank account.

Four of the five co-conspirators are in custody. Languban fled the country and is believed to be in the Philippines.

The Los Altos Police Department was among seven law enforcement agencies in four counties participating in the case. Others included the San Francisco and Santa Cruz police departments, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s offices.

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