Mother-daughter duo busted over romance scams

Mother-daughter duo busted over romance scams

The Crime Suppression Division (CSD) has arrested a mother and a daughter in Saraburi for cheating their victims out of almost 3 million baht in romance scams.

Pol Col Wiwat Chitsophakun, superintendent of CSD's sub-division 3, on Wednesday said the suspects, Sunantinee Sakaethong, 33, and Ratchanee Sakunaue, 63, were arrested after a team was deployed to search five locations across Nong Khae district.

The pair was wanted on warrants issued by Thon Buri Criminal Court on July 16 over charges of fraud, assuming another person's identity and inputting false information into the computer system.

Police also confiscated four mobile phones, a tablet, a desktop computer, a passbook, an ATM card, documents and edited pictures of senior officials in state agencies.

Initially, the pair denied all charges. They were then taken to Phasi Charoen police station to be processed.

The arrest followed a complaint lodged with the CSD by a victim, who lost almost all of his retirement savings over the scam.

The scammers, Pol Col Wiwat said, used a fake Facebook profile under the name "Chrysilla Celandina Celia", which featured pictures of celebrities as its profile picture. The pair would post fake stories designed to make "Chrysilla" appear real, often making claims about being acquainted with high-ranked officers in state and private agencies.

Using the fake profile, which had more than 20,000 followers, the pair would target wealthy victims via online dating apps, where they had chatted up over 100 Thais and foreigners. After establishing a relationship with the victims, they would threaten to send out edited voice recordings or faked chat histories to the victims and their families in exchange for money. The victim who filed a report with CSD lost millions of baht to the pair, Pol Col Wiwat said.

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