A Criminal Court in Thailand sentenced a former businessman to 1,155 years in jail for investment scams and ordered him to pay one billion baht (US$28, 545,000.00) in compensation to his victims.
The court determined that Prasit Jeowkok, 52, a native of Krabi province in southern Thailand, and two other defendants enticed numerous individuals online in 2020 and 2021 to invest in a business that included trip packages, a cooperative, and renting out luxury goods. They promised large returns but did not deliver.
They were found guilty of public fraud and computer crime by the court.
The 1,155-year sentence is made up of consecutive years for 321 offences. The legislation, however, restricts actual time served to 20 years.
Prasit surrendered on May 17, 2021, and was jailed at Nonthaburi’s Bang Kwang Central Prison. On December 22, last year, he attempted to flee the Criminal Court.
Investment Scams in Thailand
Investment scams can occur in any country, especially Thailand. It’s important to be aware of the risks involved and to exercise caution when considering investment opportunities. Here are a few common investment scams that have been reported in Thailand:
1. Ponzi schemes: Ponzi schemes promise high returns on investments but use money from new investors to pay off earlier investors. Eventually, the scheme collapses when there are no new investors to sustain the payouts. Investors who join early may make profits, but the majority of participants lose their money.
2. Boiler room scams: In boiler room scams, fraudsters use high-pressure tactics to convince potential investors to purchase overpriced or nonexistent stocks, typically through cold calls. They often use false information, fake websites, and misleading claims to deceive people into investing.
3. Forex trading scams: Some scammers offer investment opportunities in the foreign exchange (forex) market, promising huge profits with minimal risk. They may claim to have insider information or a secret trading strategy. However, once investors deposit their funds, the scammers disappear or engage in fraudulent trading activities.
4. Binary options scams: Binary options involve predicting whether the value of an asset will rise or fall within a specific time frame. Scammers may manipulate trading software, provide false information, or deny withdrawal requests to deceive investors into losing their money.
To protect yourself from investment scams in Thailand or elsewhere, consider the following precautions:
1. Research: Thoroughly investigate any investment opportunity and the company offering it. Look for official licenses and registrations, read reviews and testimonials, and search for any negative information or scam alerts.
2. Due diligence: Verify the credentials of the individuals involved and ensure they have a legitimate track record in the investment industry. Check if the company has a physical office and a legitimate business address.
3. Question unrealistic returns: Be skeptical of investment opportunities that promise unusually high returns with little to no risk. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
4. Consult professionals: Seek advice from financial advisors or professionals who can provide objective insights and guidance regarding investment opportunities. They can help you identify potential red flags and make informed decisions.
5. Avoid pressure tactics: Be cautious of high-pressure sales tactics that urge you to invest quickly without giving you enough time to research or think it through. Legitimate investment opportunities will not rush you into making a decision.
Remember, it’s essential to remain vigilant and exercise caution when it comes to your investments. If you believe you have been a victim of an investment scam, report it to the local authorities in Thailand and seek legal assistance to explore your options for recourse.