Police have filed charges against four people for allegedly operating an online scam, in collaboration with subscribers tothe government’s 50:50 co-payment scheme, in an attempt to cheat the government of the funds intended for the subscribers.

Police are also investigating the conduct of another 700 people,suspected of operating similar fraudulent schemes to cheat the government through fake spending by subscribers.

The four suspects were identified by police as 62-year old Sompong, the owner of a grocery store in Tambon Kork Krabue in Samut Sakhon province, her 25-year old son, Sarun, and a couple, named Jirapote and Mrs. Kanokpon.

Five smart phones, loaded with the G Wallet application, one tablet, a notebook computer and six bank accounts were seized,by police and officials from the Fiscal Policy Office of the Finance Ministry and the state-run Krung Thai Bank during, a raid of the grocery on December 9th.

While being questioned, Mrs. Sompong reportedly told the police that she knew nothing about how the scam operated and blamed her son, Sarun, in collaboration Jirapote and Mrs. Kanokpon, for any wrongdoing.

According to the police, the gang used a Facebook page, under the name of “Savita Rakcheepchob”, to invite subscribers to spend their money without actually buying anything from Mrs.Sompong’s store in Samut Sakhon, with a promise that they will receive 90 baht for every 150 baht spent.  The remaining 60 baht was to be split between the store owner and the couple.

The gang allegedly used the Line application, under the name of Jirapote, when contacting the subscribers.

Under the economic stimulus scheme, each subscriber originally received 3,000 baht, wired into their “Pao Tang” account, to be spent on food or other necessities at registered stores worth no more than 300 baht a day, with 50%, or 150 baht being borne by the tax payer.

In the second phase of the scheme, new subscribers receive 3,500 baht and the phase one subscribers will receive an additional 500 baht.

Officials of the bank and the Fiscal Policy Office became suspicious when they found several subscribers, who live far away from Samut Sakhon, such as in Chiang Mai and Songkhla provinces, spending their money at the grocery store in Samut Sakhon, so they alerted the police.

Police claim that Sarun and Mrs. Kanokpon have admitted involvement, while Mrs. Sompong and Jirapote have denied the charges.

Meanwhile, police have warned subscribers not to be persuadedinto getting involved any similar scam, saying that they may face imprisonment for up to 5 years and/or a fine of 60,000 baht.

 

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)