Aarni Saarimaa, a Finnish Bitcoin [BTC] millionaire, was recently scammed of about 5560 Bitcoins by a Thai scamming group. This comes up to a total of 797 million baht, or $24 million.
According to a report by the Bangkok Post, the investor was told that he will be buying shares in property using the cryptocurrency. Saarimaa wished to buy shares in three companies, invest in a casino and buy new cryptocurrencies. After transferring the money, 745 million baht, or about $22.3 million was deposited into bank accounts belonging to 7 suspects in the case.
This was the premise of the scam being run by the gang, who reportedly lured a lot of victims into buying shares of companies such as Expay Group, NX Chain Inc and DNA 2002 Plc. Along with buying these shares, they also duped investors into buying a coin known as Dragon Coins, which they said would be used in a casino in Macao.
The primary accused are the Jaravijit brothers, namely Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit, a soap opera actor, and Prinya Jaravijit, the so-called mastermind of the fraud. The actor was arrested while filming, under a warrant issued by the Criminal Court.
The actor has currently been released on bail following his hearing in court, while his brother, Prinya fled the country to the United States. Other individuals who are accused of being involved in the scam include Suphitcha Jaravijit, Booms’s sibling, and a group of six others.
The Bangkok Crime Suppression Division stated to the press that this was one of the most challenging cases it has investigated. This was due to the crime’s involvement with digital assets, which they claimed as being “difficult to trace until the money was withdrawn.”
The Deputy Commander of the investigative force, Pol Col Chakrit Sawasdee, stated:
“This case is complicated. We had to carefully examine documents and trace the money trail. We collaborated with Amlo [Anti-Money Laundering Office] and it took us almost seven months to get approval for the arrest warrants for the first group.”
The accused face charges of money laundering, as they purchased 14 plots of land worth 176 million baht, or $5.2 million. In addition, the accused also have had 51 bank accounts frozen. However, they also might face charges of fraud, due to orchestrating a scam. Pol Col Chakrit stated on their charges to Bangkok Post:
“For the money laundering charge, we are verifying the amount of money with commercial banks only in the accounts of the siblings and their family and relatives. The money needs to be frozen and brought. back to the victims. When it is fraud, the complainants and the accused can talk and have arbitration. However, money laundering is a crime that cannot be bargained away.”
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