Attorney David Replogle of San Francisco, Kaushal Niroula and three others have been charged with murdering a 74 year old Palm Springs retiree, Cliff Lambert, in order to take both his money and profit from the sale of Lambert’s home. If convicted, Replogle could face the death penalty or life in prison.
According to SF Gate, Replogle, Niroula and the others “fraudulently took ownership of three luxury condos in the city last year, then took out a $2.2 million equity loan and divided it up”. They did so, according to authorities, by assuming fake identities and conning real estate agents in order to get the keys before taking title to the condominiums located at One Rincon Hill.
When the real owner, Shirley Hwang, became suspicious after receiving mail addressed to one of the suspects, she checked city records, found the fraudulent sales and called police. Ms. Hwang is now suing the lender to get the sale rescinded.
“The breathtaking scope, complexity and theatrics of this scam and these con men rivals any Hollywood movie,” District Attorney Kamala Harris said. “Thanks to the hard work of the D.A.’s office and the SFPD, the story had the proper ending.”
Seven police agencies, including the SFPD and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, raided six Bay Area locations and arrested Jay Shah, 45, of San Jose on 19 criminal counts including conspiracy and theft, and his attorney, Melvin Emerich, 57, of Santa Cruz, on 13 counts. Winston Lum, 45, a former San Francisco tennis instructor, had already been arrested in February and charged with 21 counts. Lum is accused by prosecutors of forging the signature of the condo owner and granting himself the deed to the properties.