The Crime Suppression Division (CSD) today, May 25th, announced the major arrest of six suspects of Nigerian and Thai nationals for allegedly operating online romance scams and laundering money, generating an annual income of more than 200 million baht.
CSD commander Suwat Sangnum told reporters that the raid took place after the police received complaints from several victims last year that they had allegedly lost nearly 1 million baht to a romance scam, reportedly by a group of Thai and foreign nationals.
The initial investigation revealed that the group would open an Instagram account using the fake name “Mr. Lanny Gray” to contact victims before starting a romantic relationship. Gray claimed himself as a retired American businessman who was working in Malaysia. When both became closer, he would ask for victims’ LINE account to make them look reliable and continue building an intimate relationship via the application.
Gray reportedly constantly sent affectionate messages, saying that he hoped to travel and to live together with the victims in Thailand. Gray would continue to talk to the victim constantly until gaining trust from the victim before claiming that he wanted to send many valuable items to the victims but they needed to pay for various fees throughout the delivery.
Victims were convinced and agreed to transfer the money, reportedly a total amount of almost 1 million baht. However, after paying it, they did not receive anything as he claimed and said that the delivery was still in progress.
The group also allegedly used the account to ask for 500,000 baht to other victims, reasoning that Gray was hospitalized and needed an urgent amount of money for medical expenses.
Suwat Sangnum said: “The investigation took about five months until the identity of the alleged scammers were exposed. All of the seven victims were caught in seven different areas in Bangkok, Nakhon Sawan Province, Phuket Province, and Pathum Thani.”
The suspects were Nigerian national Ezeneche Uzochukwu Jerome, 44, and Thai nationals Punnawee Chusinchiraphat, 46, Sasitorn Nuankaew, 22, Sudchai Kamnon, 34, Tosapol Siripru, 33, and Nirundorn Tienthavorn, 29. Their properties, including an SUV vehicle, 906,000-baht cash, 7 mobile phones, 18 bank accounts, 45 luxurious accessories, 11 wristwatches, 2 pieces of ivory-like housing decorations, and 11 electronic cash cards, were discovered and confiscated for investigation.
They were initially charged for jointly defrauding by creating and identifying themselves as someone else and for distributing false information into a computer system that causes damage to the people.
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