Six jailed over Eagle Gates transnational investment fraud
The Criminal Court has handed down heavy prison terms to 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 yesterday.
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 took part in an investment scheme and misappropriating 235 million baht of their assets for its own use.
Pol Col Akarapol said that after the DSI accepted the case 21 suspects -- 19 Thais and two foreigners -- were arrested.
The DSI worked with law enforcement agencies in other countries for the arrest of the foreign suspects.
On Oct 28, the Criminal Court passed judgement on the 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 first defendant was also found to have violated the law on transnational crime.
The first defendant was sentenced to 50 years in jail while the other five 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, and pay 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 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 their money, he said.
Earlier, the DSI indicted the first group of 13 suspects in the Criminal Court. On March 18, the court sentenced 11 of these defendants to 10 years each in prison after finding them guilty of cheating the public and violating the law against transnational crime. Their terms were commuted to six years and eight months because they gave useful testimony.
The other two defendants were acquitted.
- Eagle Gates