After being convicted of grand theft, money laundering, forgery, conspiracy, and filing forged documents for his part in a $2.2 million condo scam, Jay Shah made a run for it and was on the lam.
Authorities were hot on his trail, but couldn't quite track him down until Wednesday, when Watsonville police caught up with Shah and an another unidentified person in a vehicle outside the Days Inn hotel.
"But for their quick reaction, we'd still be following him," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. "The bottom line is you can run, but you can't hide."
Shah was part of a group who filed fake documents claiming ownership of a woman's three condos in the Rincon Hill neighborhood; the group took out loans against the property, and then put the condos into a conspirator's name. After draining the properties of all their equity, they laundered the money; by the time the true owner discovered the scam, it was already a done deal.
Two weeks ago, authorities learned that Shah was on the lam when he didn't show up in court to receive his guilty verdict. The court had been told he was in the hospital because of problems related to his foot surgery, but he was actually skipping out on his $7.5 million bail.
Shah is in custody and will be sentenced on Nov. 8. He faces 35 years in prison.