Celebrity couple among suspects
Sixteen more people including a celebrity couple will be charged with alleged roles in a Forex Ponzi scheme, according to Prayut Petchkun, deputy director-general of the Department of Special Litigation.
On Thursday, public prosecutors indicted 19 defendants for computer crimes and for allegedly obtaining loans amounting to public cheating and fraud from operating the Forex Ponzi scheme that cheated thousands of victims out of about 2 billion baht. All of them are currently in jail without bail.
Among that group were actress Sawika “Pinky” Chaidet, her mother Sarinya Chaidet and her brother Kittichet Chaidet.
Moreover, Mr Prayut revealed yes- terday that the Department of Special Litigation was about to indict 16 other alleged accomplices in the Ponzi scheme.
They include singer Suteewan “Baitoey” Taveeesin and her husband Pattanapon “DJ Man” Kunjara Na Ayudhaya.
The court will examine the evidence on Aug 29, added Mr Prayut.
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) revealed that Sawika and the celebrity couple were brought in as partners at the invitation of Sawika’s brother Mr Kittichet.
The celebrity couple and the other 14 will be called in for questioning soon.
DSI spokesman Pol Maj Gen Woranan Srilam said that the money-laundering partners involved in Forex-3D had been arrested in 2020 and officers had seized property worth more than 700 million baht.
However, police have been tracking down other accomplices for years. Apirak Kothi, the founder of the company, was arrested in January, 2021.
Pol Maj Gen Woranan said that the 19 defendants who were denied bail by the court on Thursday are co-defendants.
Officers found that the actress Sawika and her mother were drawn to the business by Forex-3D executives and evidence indicated that they had signed contracts and invested in the scheme even though they had provided evidence to defend themselves to DSI officers that they were victims of the Ponzi scheme themselves, added Pol Maj Gen Woranan.
The court denied bail requests from all defendants because of the huge damage and heavy punishments involved in the case.
The Forex-3D Ponzi scheme, which lured thousands of people to invest in what they believed to be foreign exchange trading with false promises of high returns, was run by Apiruk Kothi, 28.
He was arrested on Jan 15 last year, after more than a year on the run.
The court was told that from Nov 25, 2015, to Sept 8, 2020, the defendants invited people through Facebook to invest in the Forex-3D foreign exchange group, with 9,824 people investing a total of 2.49 billion baht.