SAN JOSE -- Mai Vu was still wearing her electronic monitoring anklet -- a bail requirement for fraud charges she already faced -- when she tried to dash away from officers who went to arrest her for additional felony fraud charges last Friday.
Vu, a 53-year-old San Jose resident, was arraigned Thursday on new charges of elder theft, forgery of deed documents, recording false instruments and grand theft, all acts prosecutors say she committed while out on a $400,000 bond for the fraud charges from a year ago.
On Aug. 29, an elderly couple reported that someone had forged a document to take over the title to their San Jose rental properties, worth about $1 million. Campbell police investigator Fabian Ramirez followed a trail to Vu, and investigators with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office found another property, belonging to an elderly Milpitas couple, had also been transferred to Vu.
According to the charges, Vu secured a loan of $250,000 from a private investor, using the Milpitas home as collateral. Prosecutors said Vu then falsified more documents conveying the title back to the elderly couple, "ultimately leaving the private lender on the hook for the $250,000."
"Ms. Vu has audaciously defrauded vulnerable victims, again and again," said Cherie Bourlard of the district attorney's Elder Fraud Unit. "We hope that her latest arrest will finally stop her predatory behavior and allow us to find others she may have
Investigators believe Vu caught wind they were on her trail, and when they went to her home to arrest her she dashed out the back and through a fence onto a neighbor's property, but was quickly nabbed by San Jose police.
In August 2011, Vu was charged with a series of scams involving four victims. After the latest charges, she remains in custody with bail set at $10 million. If convicted of all the charges, she could be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call investigators at 408-808-3787.
Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.