Thai police have apprehended a group of scammers who successfully swindled Aarmi Otava Saarimaa, a 22-year old Finnish man, of over 5,000 bitcoins, according to a report made by the Bangkok Post on August 13, 2018.
As reported by the Bangkok Post, Aarni Otava Saarimaa, a businessman and bitcoin millionaire from Finland lost 800 million baht worth of bitcoin to the fraudsters, who under the guise of an investment opportunity with three firms lured him into giving his money. The scammers lied deceived him into believing he would have shares in Expay Group, NX Chain Inc and DNA 2002 Plc, as well as buying Dragon Coins, which they claimed would be the native coin of a casino in Macao.
But after the 5,564.4 bitcoins (worth approximately 24 million dollars at the time) from trusting investors, the criminals exchanged the crypto coins into fiat currency and deposited it into various bank accounts belonging to seven suspects, and with some of it bought plots of land.
According to an inside source, the operation happened in June 2017, but the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) received the report in January 2018, when the victim’s business partner Chonnikan Kaeosali, filed a complaint to the police and notified them of the situation.
Colonel Chakrit publicised:
“This case is complicated. We had to carefully examine documents and trace the money trail. We collaborated with Anti Money laundering organization, and it took us almost seven months to get approval for the arrest warrants for the first group.”
Thai law enforcement agents have caught some of the fraudsters involved, arresting soap opera actor Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit, 27, in July, while his sibling Prinya Jaravijit, has left the country to the United States via South Korea. The CSD has alerted U.S. authorities of this situation. The police believe that at least nine people were involved in the scam.
The suspects are now facing charges of money laundering and may also be charged with fraud too.
Investigators have reportedly frozen 51 bank accounts which they believed were connected to the case, and they also seized 14 plots of land worth 176 million baht which were bought by the suspects.
While the Thai regulators have started to warm up to the crypto space, with the nation’s authorities already applying agreeable laws, cases such as this are a huge drawback to the entire adoption process.