'Most wanted' fraudsters face crackdown

'Most wanted' fraudsters face crackdown

Police keen to arrest suspects linked to some of nation's most notorious scams and ruses

The Crime Suppression Division (CSD) has cracked down on more than 20 cases of fraud in the past week, including one in which a millionaire was conned out of 232 million baht in an inheritance scam.

The Crime Suppression Division’s list of its 10-most wanted fraud suspects. A reward has been offered for tip-offs leading to an arrest. (Photo by Wassayos Ngamkham)

Four suspects were arrested for allegedly defrauding Panisara Thanasamanchok, 59, who in late 2016 earned hundreds of millions of baht from selling plots of land in Nonthaburi along the Purple Line, part of Bangkok's electric rail system, said CSD chief Pol Maj Gen Chiraphop Phuridet.

The suspects were Suphit Nimitniwat, 61, Phanita Natphairin, 52, Chaichana Chanthra, 45, and Marisa Sombankruay, 42, he said.

The suspects were detained at their houses in Ratchaburi, Nonthaburi and Suphan Buri.

Ms Suphit, who allegedly cooked up the fraud, told the victim after meeting her that Ms Phanita was the heiress to an inheritance worth about 1 billion baht left by a doctor killed in an explosion in the southern province of Yala.

However, she needed to pay a few expenses to recover the fortune and would pay if Ms Panisara was willing to help.

Ms Suphit tried to convince Ms Panisara that she would receive 300 million baht in return for lending Ms Phanita 235 million baht which Ms Suphit claimed Ms Phanita needed for use to cover the cost of reclaiming the inheritance.

Ms Panisara agreed to lend the 235 million baht to Ms Phanita, and initially gave the two women 520,000 baht twice before she became suspicious that she was being defrauded.

Curious about the inheritance story, Ms Panisara tried to seek the truth from Ms Suphit who put her in contact with Mr Chaichana who pretended to be a military lieutenant colonel taking care of the dead doctor's will.

Chiraphop: On their case

The bogus military official not only assured Ms Panisara the inheritance did exist but also introduced her to Ms Marisa who pretended to be an army lieutenant and who affirmed the existence of the inheritance.

Once won over by the story, Ms Panisara transferred money in 597 transactions totalling 232.9 million baht to the suspects before she eventually discovered her initial suspicions of fraud were correct.

After she lodged a complaint with police in Nakhon Pathom province, the CSD had stepped in to help track the suspects. While pursuing legal action against the four suspects, the CSD is also tracking the money they allegedly swindled from the victim.

In another major fraud case busted the same week, Chanathon Chaikittithada, 31, from Samut Prakan, was arrested on charges of fraud and computer crime.

By the time she was detained by police, she was wanted on as many as 10 arrest warrants issued in connection with various investment scams including a fake chilli paste factory investment and one dealing with sales of brand-name bags.

In another online fraud case, Narisara Wichitkhokkruat, 35, was arrested and charged with fraud and for violating the computer crime law.

This suspect had advertised a bogus sewing business on Facebook to lure potential victims into giving her a downpayment for a sewing order that was never processed.

More than 60 people fell victim to this scam.

Meanwhile, the CSD has published arrest warrants issued for 10 of its most wanted suspects on Facebook, one of whom faces as many as 17 arrest warrants.

Ladapha Suksumek has a total of 17 warrants against him issued by the Bangkok North Kwaeng Court on fraud charges, while another suspect, Chalothon Sapsaengsong, is facing a warrant issued by the Min Buri provincial court for fraud.

Also among the 10, Manat Saewang is facing an arrest warrant for fraud issued by the Criminal Court, while Setthaphit Suntharawat is wanted by police in an arrest warrant issued also by the court on fraud and computer crime charges.

Songkran Baothumma is facing an arrest warrant on fraud charges and for operating a criminal association, while Capt Yutthasak Yusuk is wanted on a warrant issued by the Criminal Court on fraud charges.

Yaowarat Thepho is wanted on a warrant issued by the court on fraud charges and Kowit Yommana wanted on a similar warrant.

The other two suspects included in the announcement, Phusit Panyasurintha and Phonraphat Yotsuwan, were nabbed on March 19 in Phra Khanong district of Bangkok and they are now fighting their cases in court.

Contact Crime Track: crimetrack@bangkokpost.co.th

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