More than 400 members of a police savings and credit co-operative in Lamphun are said to have fallen victim to fraud committed by its staff, causing losses of at least 220 million baht.
The scandal was detailed on Thursday by Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn and Witwisit Phansuanplook, two Move Forward Party MPs who represent Lamphun in the House of Representatives. All told, they aid, 423 co-op members were affected.
Mr Witwisit said officers approached him to monitor the progress of an investigation after one of the officers who reported the fraud to the police back in February suspected his commanding officer was in on the scam.
The fraud, he said, was carried out by co-op staff, who had noticed that many members who took out loans from the co-op rarely visited its office to update their transaction books.
They identified these members and forged their signatures to request bigger loans, depositing the difference into their own accounts for personal use, said Mr Witwisit.
One officer, for example, found out that documents which he signed back in 1998 to get a 400,000-baht loan for a car had been tampered with without his knowledge to make it appear as if he had asked for a 900,000-baht loan.
The officer said he became aware of the fraud when he went to the office to finish paying off the loan, only to find out he still owed over 700,000 baht.
To make matters worse, some of the staff used the names of officers who had not applied for a loan from the co-op, causing them to default on loans they didn’t know they had, affecting their credit scores.
The Move Forward Party will forward the complaint to the House speaker before passing it on to the Royal Thai Police for further investigation. The party will also ask the Committee on Police Affairs to look into the fraud, said Mr Witwisit.
Mr Wiroj said Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, the new national police chief, should make the case a priority.