Jail time for army general in fraud case
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Jail time for army general in fraud case

An army general and two others have been sentenced to jail for colluding to swindle more than 43 million baht from two companies in exchange for the right to undertake state projects that did not exist.

The Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road on Tuesday ruled Gen Sompote Ngerncharoen, 66, Chutikan Boonmee and Thanankan Nanthadamrongwat guilty of colluding to defraud others.

Gen Sompote used to serve as an adviser to a Fourth Region Army commander and as ex-assistant leader of a team attached to the defence chief-of-staff.

According to prosecutors, between March 28 and July 20, 2018, the three defendants, as well as other suspects still at large, defrauded a company by falsely claiming they could land the firm a state contract to supply and install LED lights in a project run by the Energy Ministry.

Gen Sompote fraudulently claimed to be a member of the since-dissolved National Legislative Assembly. He said he could secure the contract in the project for schools in Khon Kaen.

The trio demanded the firm pay them "administrative" and other fees worth over 31 million baht for the project. But the court was told the project was non-existent.

The trio were also charged with conning the owner of another private company from Dec 19, 2017, to Aug 21, 2018.

The owner was offered access to a bogus state-run project to install solar panels for 100 schools in Loei.

According to prosecutors, Chutikan convinced the company owner to pay the defendants 12.7 million baht for "administrative" and related fees.

At trial, the defendants denied the charges.

The court found them guilty and sentenced Gen Sompote and Thanankan to two years in jail and Chutikan to one year.

They were also ordered to return 28 million baht to the first company and 12.7 million baht to the second firm.

Gen Sompote has allegedly been connected to a number of other fraud cases in Khon Kaen.

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