Six in Eagle Gates fraud case get 20, 50 years in prison

Six in Eagle Gates fraud case get 20, 50 years in prison

Investment company was front for transnational crime

File photo. Screen grab off Youtube.
File photo. Screen grab off Youtube.

The Criminal Court has handed down heavy prison terms for the six prime defendants in a case in which Eagle Gates Group Co Ltd was charged with money-laundering and investment fraud, Department of Special Investigation (DSI) deputy director-general Pol Col Akarapol Punyopashtambha said on Wednesday.

This and other court cases followed a DSI investigation which concluded the company was a front for transnational crime. 

Eagle Gates was accused of defrauding 250 clients in Thailand who joined an investment scheme and misappropriating 235 million baht of their assets for its own use.

Pol Col Akarapol said after the DSI accepted the case 21 suspects - 19 Thais and two foreigners - were arrested. The 21 had been prosecuted in the Criminal Court.

The DSI had also coordinated with law enforcement agencies in other countries for the arrest of other foreign suspects.

On Oct 28, the Criminal Court passed judgement on six defendants, who were prime suspects. Two were Taiwanese nationals.

The court found all six guilty of defrauding the public under the Criminal Code. The 1st defendant was also found to have violated the law on the suppression and prevention of transnational crime.

The 1st defendant was sentenced to 50 years in jail.

The 2nd - 6th defendants were each sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

All six defendants were also ordered to return money to investors who were tricked into joining the scheme, plus annual interest of 8%.

Pol Col Akarapol said Eagle Gates Group claimed it had been founded more than 10 years ago as a stock index trading company in the United States. The DSI's investigators learned that the company actually operated as a cover for transnational crime and money-laundering. 

One group of agents for the company held investment seminars to lure investors and another processed the transactions, siphoning off the investors' money for its own use, he said.

Earlier, the DSI indicted the first group of 13 suspects in the Criminal Court.

On March 18, the court sentenced the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th and 13th defendants to 10 years each in prison after finding them guilty of cheating the public and violating the law on prevention and suppression of transnational crime. Their terms were commuted to 6 years and 8 months because they gave useful testimony.

The 2nd and 11th defendants were acquitted.

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