38 nabbed in foreign Ponzi scheme scam

38 nabbed in foreign Ponzi scheme scam

Police briefing poster shows chief investigator Pol Maj Gen Surachate 'Big Joke' Hakparn of the police call-centre suppression division and the organisation chart of the alleged OD Capital pyramid scheme. (Photo via touristpolice.go.th)
Police briefing poster shows chief investigator Pol Maj Gen Surachate 'Big Joke' Hakparn of the police call-centre suppression division and the organisation chart of the alleged OD Capital pyramid scheme. (Photo via touristpolice.go.th)

Thirty-eight suspects have been arrested for allegedly conning victims out of up to 10 billion baht in a Ponzi scheme run by a foreign holding company.

Those arrested included Chinnawat Noiwan, an executive of OD Capital. He is among 48 suspects wanted in the case. The whereabouts of nine suspects remains unknown -- but four are believed to have fled abroad.

Pol Maj Gen Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn, head of the Royal Thai Police's call-centre scam suppression operation centre, said Monday the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) also seized more than 130 million baht in assets from the suspects.

He also urged victims to lodge complaints with police to recover their money, which would be taken out of the seized assets.

Pol Maj Gen Surachate, said a probe found that OD Capital is a holding company with subsidiaries registered in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States.

However, the firm failed to apply for commercial registration at the Department of Business and Development. The company also does not have a business operating licence granted by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of the Consumer Protection Board.

Pol Maj Gen Surachate said even though some suspects have denied the allegations, investigators were confident they have enough evidence to prosecute the case.

In July, 15 locations were raided by a joint force of police and Amlo officials, led by Pol Maj Gen Surachate, which resulted in an initial 29 suspects being arrested.

Nawaporn "DJ Kob" Taothong, who was among the victims, said Saharat Werot, 34, one of the arrested members, lured her into investing 200,000 baht in the OD Capital scam, promising hefty returns.

Mr Saharat allegedly told her the company would pay Ms Nawaporn a commission if she succeeded in persuading others to join the scam. However, the firm failed to pay up, citing a malfunction of its financial system.

Ms Nawaporn later filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division, which managed to reclaim her money.

She encouraged other victims to seek help from police to recover their money.


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