BANGKOK – Thailand’s Immigration police reported Wednesday that they have arrested a Japanese woman wanted for allegedly running a multimillion-dollar pyramid investment scheme in her homeland.
Setsuko Yamabe, 62 persuaded victims to invest 700 million yen ($6.3 million) in a fund that she claimed would lend to companies and earn a high rate of return, Immigration Department chief Lt. Gen. Nutthorn Prawsunthorn told Thairath
Yamabe’s investors would then recruit additional investors in the fashion of a multilevel marketing scheme.
Some victims lost thousands of dollars and committed suicide, police said in a statement.
Yamabe was arrested in the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani on a warrant issued by Japan’s Kumamoto District Court for “crimes involving investments, deposits, and interest rates,” police said.
Her documents showed that she had traveled in and out of Thailand 15 times, most recently entering from neighboring Laos.
Police said they also intend to question the Thai man with whom Yamabe was staying in the province to see whether he involved in the scheme, while also investigating why she visited Thailand so frequently.
A spokesman for the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said Japanese police will take Yamabe back to Japan.