Officials of the Department of Special Investigation on Thursday searched the house of the editor of a little-known newspaper after the department had received complaints from hundreds of people who claimed they had been cheated of their investments in his alleged pyramid scheme.
Pol Lt-Col Payao Thongsen, commander of the Special Criminal Cases Office 1 of the DSI, told the media that the editor of Tamruat Polamuang (Citizen Police) newspaper, Mr Sap-anan Charoenwattana-udom, allegedly operated the pyramid scheme under the guise of a funeral welfare programme under which those who were interested were asked to put up a certain amount of money with him with a promise that they would receive a refund amounting to one million baht if they are not dead within a year.
More than about 10,000 were tempted to invest in the funeral welfare programme which was, in fact, a pyramid scheme. Many investors found out after a year later that they were not paid the one million baht refund as promised and they lodged complaints with the police and the DSI.
According to Pol Lt-Col Payao, the DSI launched a probe into the alleged fraud and found out that Mr Sap-anan had allegedly transferred, on several occasions, money totaling about 100 million baht from his bank accounts to those of his Common Law wife, Ms Chanthip Tunthiang.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)