A New Castle County Superior Court jury convicted James Cooke of the rape and murder of a University of Delaware student in 2005.
A 53-year-old San Jose woman was charged Thursday after prosecutors say she forged deeds while awaiting a trial where she faced similar real estate fraud charges, and then allegedly tried to escape by running into a neighbor's backyard.
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourlard said Mai Vu was arrested Friday after an elderly couple reported to San Jose police that a recorded grant deed conveying title from their San Jose rental properties, worth about $1 million, was forged and recorded in late August.
Vu now faces felony charges of elder theft, forgery of deed documents, recording false instruments and grand theft.
As the elderly couple's story came to light, Campbell Police Investigator Fabian Ramirez quickly realized the evidence pointed to Vu, who was out of custody on $400,000 bail for similar real estate fraud charges.
More information came forward, and DA Investigator Robert Traskowski soon discovered that another elderly couple’s Milpitas home had been tainted because Vu allegedly forged their signatures on a grant deed conveying title to the property to herself.
Prosecutors say Vu then secured a loan and caused a deed of trust from a private investor to be recorded at a loan amount of $250,000. Records show that after Vu received the money, she then allegedly recorded false documents conveying title back to the elderly couple, ultimately leaving the private lender on the hook for the $250,000, Bourlard said.
Bourlard added that when Vu learned that authorities were on her trail, allegedly she attempted to confront the elderly couple in Milpitas.
DA Investigator Dennis Brookins, however, went to Vu's home to arrest her. As he approached her door, Bourlard said Vu ran out the back and slipped through the backyard fence into a neighbor’s property.
She was immediately apprehended by nearby San Jose police officers after the neighbors called 911. Vu is currently in jail, pending charges for both cases, and could not be reached for immediate comment.
If anyone has additional information, they are asked to call the District Attorney’s Office Real Estate Fraud Unit at (408) 808-3787