A Criminal Court in Thailand has sentenced a married couple to a total of 12,640 years in jail for defrauding people into investing in a fraudulent savings plan, with victims reporting total losses of 1.3 billion baht.
Because they confessed, their sentences were reduced to 5,056 years. All of their sentences are consecutive, although the law limits their total prison time to 20 years.
The court heard evidence that the nine defendants advertised on Facebook from March 9, 2019 to October 30, 2019, urging individuals to invest in a savings system with a high return.
The bare minimum was 1,000 baht. After nine months, investors would receive a return of 930 baht plus the capital investment of 1,000 baht, for a total of 1,930 baht.
The plan attracted a total of 2,533 participants. The total amount invested was 1.3 billion baht. The defendants were accused of not investing the money and instead dishonestly sharing it among themselves. Prosecutors accused them of various charges of fraud.
Ms. Wantanee and her husband Methi were found guilty by the court of two of the nine defendants. The other seven were acquitted due to a lack of evidence.
In other fraud news, prosecutors have charged famous couple “DJ Man” and his singer-wife “Baitoey” as well as four others with fraud in the multi-billion-baht Forex-3D Ponzi scheme.
Pattanapon “DJ Man” Mintakhin and Suteewan “Baitoey” Thaweesin were their previous names. They both now go by the married surname Kunjara and were charged under that identity.
Mr Pattanapon and Ms Suteewan arrived at the Office of the Attorney-General’s department of special litigation on Tuesday morning, accompanied by their lawyer, to hear the prosecution’s decision in the case against them.
The couple and four individuals were charged on three counts: conspiracy to obtain fraudulent loans, public fraud, and entering false information into a computer system in violation of the Computer Crime Act.
Mr Pattanapon, alias “DJ Man,” told reporters that he was unaware of the prosecutors’ decision and that he had not prepared any assets to support a bail application. He was expecting his mother to arrive. Ms Suteewan, also known as “Baitoey,” was tense and refused to interact with reporters.
Prosecutors indicted all six defendants in the case on all three counts on Tuesday morning, according to deputy spokeswoman Kosolwat Intuchanwong.
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) charged the couple and six people in February on allegations related to the Forex-3D Ponzi scheme.
Mr Pattanapon and Ms Suteewan appeared before DSI investigators in September to admit to the three charges, which they all disputed, and were then discharged. They were among the 16 people accused of being involved.
The DSI called Mr Pattanapon and Ms Suteewan in 2019 to clarify their relationship with Apiruk Kothi, the owner of Forex-3D, who is accused of a multibillion-baht fraud.
Forex-3D advertised itself as an online foreign exchange dealer with a beautiful website, but it was unregistered and operated as a Ponzi scheme. It was promoted by celebrities who were paid to do so.
The Criminal Court later denied bail to Mr Pattaporn and Ms Suteewin, and they were detained in detention together with two other defendants who did not seek for bail. The first defendant is Pattanapon, 40, and the second defendant is Ms Suteewin, 35.
Mr Pattanapon’s mother appealed for bail, pledging 100,000 baht as surety and requesting that he be equipped with an electronic tag that would follow his activities. Suteewin’s younger brother sought for her release on bail, giving 5 million baht as surety and requesting that she be electronically tagged.
Chatchai Khotchahin, 35, and Suranart Nakmusik, 38, provided 100,000 baht and 400,000 baht as surety, respectively, but were also denied parole.
The fourth and sixth defendants declined bail.
The court determined that all of the accused posed a flight risk.The men were detained at Bangkok Remand Prison, while the ladies were detained at the Central ladies’s Correctional Institution.