American Roger Miller today pleaded to the press that he himself was a victim of fraud as he faces immediate extradition to Florida for allegedly defrauding investors of US$1.2 million.
“Between 2006 and 2009, Mr Miller operated a real estate business named Rama Lama Mortgage that dealt with property transactions including estate mortgages,” Phuket Immigration Superintendent Panuwat Ruamrak explained at a press conference this morning.
“He offered the opportunity to invest in or buy properties in Thailand and promised return rates as high as 10 to 30 per cent. Investors never received what had been agreed to.
“There were over 10 victims [of this fraud], most of them from the USA and Canada. Damages amount to over $1.2 million,” he added.
“As far as we know, none of the victims are Thai,” he added.
Mr Miller, however, alleged that two American partners in a company he started in 2007 took the invested money and disappeared.
“We planned to do a 140-unit condominium project on 7½ rai of land in Phang Nga. However, my partner Matthew Willie and I found out that we were left for bust by two other partners in late 2008,” he said.
“We trusted them, but we realized there was no money in the bank accounts. The attorney wasn’t paid and if I had not come back to Thailand I would have lost the land. I came over to stay and ‘clean house’ as they say. Pay bills and taxes.
“Many investors called me and I always answered. I never hid from them. I didn’t flee, I came here to try to solve the problem. The investors, they are all my friends for years and a lot of them are my family,” he added.
Mr Miller said he had no idea where the two alleged partners were and that he was planning to speak with his attorney in America to determine how to handle them.
Col Panuwat told the press that Phuket Immigration was contacted by a Florida court at the beginning of August to assist in the investigation and arrest of Mr Miller.
They found him at his home in Thung Thong, Kathu, on August 16.
“After we learnt of the warrant for Mr Miller’s arrest, we canceled his visa on August 16. The reason for this was, according to the Immigration Act, we believe his behavior to be harmful towards society,” Col Panuwat said.
“We will extradite with cooperation from the US Embassy so that legal action against him can proceed. We will send him to Immigration in Bangkok by this evening and then wait to hear from the embassy,” he added.