US actor arrested over links to scam
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has arrested an American actor involved in an alleged cross-border investment fraud in which victims in Thailand lost more than 200 million baht.
The actor identified as Derrick Matthew Keller is among 32 suspects wanted on arrest warrants in connection with the scam. Of them, 23 are Thais and nine are foreigners. Twelve Thais have already been arrested.
According to a team of DSI spokesmen, Keller was arrested while travelling as a tourist in Phuket.
An initial investigation found that he was an independent actor in China and was hired by a Singaporean national who is a major suspect in the case to pretend to be an executive of a company claiming to manage assets and invest in index futures.
The DSI's investigation officers found the company was not licensed to operate a securities business as claimed, and was in fact a transnational crime syndicate.
The company was set up 10 years ago, with gang members luring victims into investing in the firm and siphoning their money and assets off for their own use, according to the DSI.
About 250 people have filed complaints with the DSI, accusing the company of deceiving them into investing in foreign securities trading.
They lost a combined 235 million baht, according to information provided by the victims.
The DSI investigators also found there was more than 1 billion baht in the gang's bank accounts and all the money had been withdrawn shortly after the fraud was brought to light.
The DSI is working with the Anti-Noney Laundering Office and authorities in foreign countries to examine the money trail of the gang and track down the masterminds behind the scam.