Thailand is seeking the extradition of four Singapore citizens believed to be involved in the Eagle Gates Group’s ponzi scheme, which has resulted in a combined loss of Bt235 million (S$9.8 million) for about 250 Thai and foreign investors.
Pol Colonel Songsak Raksaksakul, deputy chief of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), said investors were lured into putting their money in assets that did not exist.
Thai authorities are seeking cooperation from Singapore authorities to extradite the four unnamed alleged masterminds of the scam to Thailand for further legal action.
At its peak, as much as Bt1 billion had been invested in the scam, Songsak said, adding that the DSI yesterday obtained Criminal Court approval to extend the detention period of US national Derrick Mathew Keller. He was taken in as an alleged accomplice.
Songsak said Keller had admitted that he was an actor and had been hired by the mastermind to act as “CEO” of Eagle Gate to deceive investors in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and Thailand.
The DSI deputy chief added that the gang had allegedly bought the name of a company that was registered in the US but did no business, and used it to cheat investors. The gang also created a fake website and a fake video clip depicting Keller being interviewed by CNN about the trading firm’s prospects. Keller claims he was given a script to follow.
In 2016, the gang held a grand launching ceremony at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel in Pattaya, during which Keller was flown in on a helicopter. The function, held by the hotel’s pool, also included performances by well-known singers.
Songsak said the bogus firm sold four investment packages worth US$1,000 (Bt32,000), $5,000, $10,000 and $50,000, offering yields of 3, 6 and 9 per cent.
The DSI official said the fake firm paid these yields in bitcoins, but investors could not withdraw money unless they could sell the cryptocurrency. The investors later filed police complaints after realising they had been defrauded.