Thai Actor Arrested in $24mln. Bitcoin Scam
A Thai film actor has been arrested for his alleged involvement in a Bitcoin scam. The arrest was made after an investigation was conducted by Thai police department upon receipt of a complaint from a 22 year old crypto millionaire who lost more than 5,500 Bitcoins worth ~$35 million (based on today’s price).
According to Bangkok Post, a Finnish businessman named Aarni Otava Saarimaa was approached and by a Thailand based group in 2017 soliciting investments in Thai stocks, a Macau casino and a new cryptocurrency named Dragon coin.
The Thai group duped the businessman by saying that the Dragon crypto, upon issuance, can be used in casino. They also took Saarimaa to a Macau casino to make the plan appear real. Having got convinced by the story spun by the group, Saarimaa signed up to the scheme by transferring 5,564 Bitcoins.
As Saarimaa did not receive any returns for several months, a complaint was launched with Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division (CSD) in January. He was accompanied by a local business partner who suspected the investment plan was a scam.
Following investigations, CSD discovered that the Thai group did not make any investments on behalf of Saarimaa but simply converted the Bitcoins into Thai Baht and deposited into seven bank accounts.
There is no precise information regarding when the Bitcoins were sold. However, CSD has stated that the scammers made 800 million baht (~24 million) from the sale. Further investigations made CSD believe that the Thai film actor Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit was involved in the scandal. The Thai police arrested him last Wednesday.
The CSD has alleged that Prinya Jaravijit, brother of the Thai actor, is the “ring leader” of the fraudulent scheme. The CSD has found that Jaravijit has left Thailand for the US through South Korea. The Thai police is now in touch with the US authorities to track him and brink back to Thailand.