Amlo to freeze assets of fraud suspect 'Shogun'
Victims of the cheap vacation package 'scam' continue to file complaints against Pasist Arinchayalapis, alias Sin Sae Shogun, at the Crime Suppression Division where she is being held for questioning. Patipat Janthong
BANGKOK: The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) is stepping in to freeze and track down assets owned by fraud suspect Pasist Arinchayalapis, alias Sin Sae Shogun, as police look at filing a lese majeste charge against her.
Amlo has examined her financial transactions and found B3 million in her bank accounts, officials said. The agency is tracking down the rest of her assets including land and property and cars for further processing.
Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) commissioner Thitirat Nongharnpitak said police have asked Amlo to join the investigation and freeze the suspect's assets before they are transferred.
Police are also tracking the money trail of the company in their expanding investigation.
Ms Pasist, the executive of WealthEver, a company registered as a wholesale distributor of non-alcoholic drinks with the Commerce Ministry, was arrested on Wednesday (April 12) in Ranong, north of Phuket, over fraud charges for allegedly deceiving 2,000 victims who paid for trips to Japan during the Songkran holiday.
WealthEver, which claimed to sell food supplements, used trips to Japan to solicit membership in what police suspect is a pyramid scheme.
The victims said they each paid from B9,000 baht to B20,000 baht and some insisted they bought the trips without knowing about the membership.
Ms Pasist fled from her condominium in Nonthaburi on Tuesday night while the victims were left stranded at Suvarnabhumi airport after discovering on arrival that no charter flight had been arranged for them as promised.
She was arrested in Ranong with eight other people including her mother and aunt. Ms Pasist was detained at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) while other suspects were questioned at the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok.
Pol Lt Gen Thitirat said the WealthEver boss is also being investigated for alleged lese majeste in relation to an audio clip and police are gathering more evidence against her. He said the clip, which was shared online, is apparently not sufficient to bring a lese majeste charge against her and police are looking to see if there is more evidence.
In the audio clip, Ms Pasist allegedly told her company's members she was preparing to submit lists of members to the palace as the company planned to hold a big event over which an important figure would preside.
Police will today ask the Criminal Court to allow them to further detain the suspect for questioning and they will object to any bail request due to flight risk and the possible tampering with evidence, Pol Lt Gen Thitirat said.
The CIB commissioner added that police have identified 30 people who are connected to the scam and will summons them for questioning to determine if they will face charges.
Nitisak Meekhuad, Ms Pasist's lawyer, said Thursday he worked for her once over a cheque dispute and was unaware of the nature of her business until he was asked to help her fight the public fraud charges.
According to Mr Nitisak, his client has no intention of fleeing from authorities or her members. She went to Ranong only to calm herself down after the chaos at the airport.
At a media briefing in the early hours Thursday, Ms Pasit said the Japan trips were an exclusive reward for WealthEver members and it was not a tour trip.
She claimed the network's leaders had instead sold some of the trips to outsiders, some at higher prices, and the programme spiralled out of control.
She had earlier promised to refund the money in three days, and repeated the promise at the press briefing, which was also open to some of the victims who lodged complaints against her.
One frustrated customer lost his temper.
"You don't even know how people like us, who were cheated, feel," he shouted before walking out of the room.
Deputy police chief Pol Gen Chalermkiat Sriworakhan instructed all police bureaus on Thursday to provide assistance to the victims of the alleged tour scam with the CIB being the lead investigator.
All police stations were told to take preliminary statements of the victims if complaints were lodged and work with the CSD to ensure a comprehensive investigation.
Also Thursday, the District Court of Northern Bangkok issued a fresh warrant against Ms Pasist for fraud after she allegedly swindled a family out of 220,000 baht for a photo shoot job.
Col Arkhom Chantanalat, of Huay Kwang police, said Ms Pasist was accused of luring a victim to pay deposits for a photo shoot for the victim's nine-year-old child.
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