Thai Authorities Estimate Ufun Bilked Bt 38 Billion from it’s Victims
BANGKOK – Suriya Singhakamol, Director of the Bureau of Technology and Cyber Crime told reporters that the transnational online sales company Ufun may have cheated up to 120,000 members in Thailand out of about 38 billion baht in total through its alleged pyramid scheme, the Bangkok Post Reported on Tuesday.
Assistant Police Chief Suwira Songmeta told a press conference in Bangkok that Police had earlier estimated the combined loss suffered by the 120,000 Thai members of Ufun at 135 million baht, but new information showed the figure could reach 38 billion baht.
He urged people who were victims of the pyramid scheme to file complaints with police. Any monies recovered would be distributed on a first come, first served basis. So far about 110 people had filed complaints.
About 400 police officers were assigned to receive complaints nationwide and people could file their details and relevant information at police stations and via the hotline number 1599.
He also said police seized assets worth 250 million baht from Ufun Store Co, and they included 16 million baht in cash, gold ornaments and luxury cars. The assets could be put up for auction soon to raise money to recompense the victims, the assistant police chief said.
He urged Thai reporters to attend press conferences on the issue in Malaysia to acquire information for Thai police. He said there were free air tickets for the purpose. He quoted Malaysian police as reporting that a large number of Malaysians invested in the pyramid scheme operated by Ufun in Thailand.
Suriya Singhakamol, said 20 Thai and foreign suspects were facing arrest warrants. They were key founders of the pyramid scheme and each of them had changed their names 3-5 times.
Investigators also found that Ufun Store set up 3-4 subsidiaries to expand its fraudulent activities. Malaysians had initiated the scam and were among those facing arrest warrants, Pol Maj Suriya said
General Soonpan was a familiar figure on the uFun Club promotional circuit, with his image frequently used to create the illusion of legitimacy.
With ties to the military, the implication was that through Soonpan, uFun Club had the approval of the Thai military.
Internally Soonpon was credited by uFun Club as being their “International President”, however it was the photo opportunities that having Soonpon onboard provided that uFun Club management valued.
Soonpon’s arrest warrant was issued on April 15th, with the general charged with defrauding the general public.
Police raided his house today, learning that Soonpon had fled Thailand on April 10th. This was the day police arrested several key uFun Club insiders and raided the scheme’s Thai offices.
Whether or not Soonpon was tipped off in advance or whether he fled after the raids is unclear.