US$6.3 Million Stolen from Cooperative Members Accounts



Police are hunting for the manager and chief accountant of a cooperative savings bank accused of embezzling US$6.3 million from members’ savings accounts.

Police Col. Somyot Udomraksasap, the Nang Loeng police station commissioner, said the pair disappeared after the cooperative accused them of theft and embezzlement.

They disappeared from their office on March 28, according to an investigation started by their coworkers.

According to the victims, their current savings don’t match what should be in their accounts, and their signatures have been forged on withdrawal requests. Police said forensic scientists will be called in to investigate, possibly resulting in more charges.

Pol Col Somyot stated that the cooperative estimates the total losses at US$6.3 million. The police will set up a panel to collect all the evidence gathered from the victims who are coming forward to file complaints.

According to Deputy Agriculture Minister Mananya Thaiset, the cooperative chief has been given two days to conclude the investigation into embezzlement.

The cooperative had a weak withdrawal process

She said the ministry will call for a meeting today of all its committees to discuss legal action against the two absconding workers.

According to her, this case reveals weaknesses in the withdrawal process that all committees need to address to resolve the issues.

The Agricultural Cooperative Promotion Department director-general Willitsri Srisuwan said he instructed officials to provide audited reports to the department for inspection.

According to him, the 100 biggest creditors and their debtors will also be investigated.

Farm cooperatives nationwide have been asked by the Agriculture Ministry to provide an online application so members can easily check their savings.

The embezzlement was discovered after the staff reviewed its accounts on March 28. One member reported losing his entire life savings, which were worth US$1.190 million. There were losses ranging from US$1,000 to US$297,000 for others.

According to one victim of the scam, multiple withdrawals were made from this account until only US$2,600 remained.


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