A story 7 On Your Side broke years ago, this has been an epic three-year legal battle for the owner of the condos that were taken from her in the scam. The mastermind of this ring may never be tried because he was convicted of murdering a man in Palm Springs in another unrelated swindle. Now, one of the conspirators in this scam is nowhere to be found. "He is one of the accomplices of 'The Prince of Darkness' in this case that has now fled. He is a fugitive," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said.
Shah, a telecommunications executive who was just convicted along with tennis instructor Winston Lum in a multimillion-dollar real estate scam was facing up to 35 years in prison for his part in the swindle. He and Lum were found guilty of stealing three exclusive condos at One Rincon Hill, all of them from owner Shirley Hwang. Prosecutors say they forged her deeds then transferred the condos to a shell corporation and took out millions of dollars in loans on those properties.
Shah was out on bail of $1 million. He was not in court when the jury verdict came down Wednesday. "We were led to believe he was in a medical facility as it was indicated by his attorney yesterday," Gascon said. Shah's attorney told the court his client was being treated for an illness at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara, but prosecutors later learned Shah had checked out after the verdict came down. They fear he may be planning to leave the country. "He's known to have foreign passports and he's known to have funneled money into foreign companies," San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Sandip Patel told ABC7 News.
"Last night, San Francisco and San Jose airport were notified, Oakland. Information was put out to the surrounding counties," SFPD inspector Martin Dito said.
A real estate broker who was also a defendant in the case was cleared of all charges. The jury acquitted him on some counts and hung on the rest. Gascon says he's considering retrying him.