Used ‘royal projects’ to scam investors
PUBLISHED : 31 Jan 2024 at 05:55
Six suspects have been arrested after falsely claiming they were working on royal projects to dupe people into investing in their scam project, with the total damages estimated at almost 270 million baht.
Pol Maj Gen Phuthidej Boonkraphue, commander of the Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECSD) said on Tuesday the six suspects were arrested following a search operation in seven areas in Bangkok, Lop Buri, Chachoengsao, Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat on Monday.
The investigation came in response to a complaint by eight victims to the ECSD’s sub-division 4 after they learnt the projects did not exist and the suspects kept finding excuses to postpone paying any dividends.
The six were later identified as Chayawan Kanthong, 60; Wiroj Paehkongseng, 56; Pitchaya Promwee, 55; Singkhon Siriyotha, 53; Kaikaew Channongwaeng, 55; and gang leader Jarudech Baibua, 41.
They were wanted on arrest warrants issued by Pathum Thani Provincial Court for allegedly colluding in loan fraud and putting false information into a computer system thus causing damage to others.
Police confiscated more than 100 items, including 54 passbooks, three luxury cars, 17 computers, five brand name handbags, two luxury wristwatches, one diamond ring, five cameras, 100 commemorative King’s birthday celebrations coins, and four land title deeds in Phatthalung and Songkhla provinces worth more than 16 million baht.
Pol Maj Gen Phuthidej said from April 2022 to July last year, Ms Chayawan pretended at various points to be the chairwoman of Chaipattana Foundation, the Phubodin Foundation under royal patronage, and His Royal Highness Admiral Prince Abhakara of Chumphon’s Family Foundation.
Ms Chayawan claimed she supervised 28 royal projects and duped victims into investing in each one with an entry fee of 75,000 baht per person. She allegedly promised wildly improbably returns of 13 million baht within a year.
Ms Chayawan claimed the project would be subsidised by state agencies for another 50 million baht. She offered various types of investment with high returns, according to Pol Maj Gen Phuthidej.
However, the victims were able to withdraw their phantom gains unless they paid 10,000 baht to unlock the account, he said.
Deputy ECSD chief Pol Col Chakkrit Sereebut said the investigation showed Mr Jarudech ordered Ms Chayawan, a former insurance staff, to act as the supervisor of each royal project and persuade victims to join various Line chat groups.
The gang would send pictures of “meetings” by each foundation to support their fraud. Over 900 people fell victim to the scam with damages of 269 million baht.