Deputy commissioner part of multi-billion-baht ponzi scheme

Pol Maj Gen Thanasak Ritthidejpaibul, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 4, describes the ponzi scheme in which a deputy police commissioner was suspected of being involved, at the regional police office in Khon Kaen Wednesday. (Photo by Chakkrapan Natanri)

The ex-Loei police chief who allegedly tricked almost 200 subordinates out of 229 million baht is part of a nationwide ponzi scheme handling 5 billion baht a month, says a deputy regional police chief.

Pol Maj Gen Thanasak Ritthidejpaibul, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 4, said in Khon Kaen province on Thursday that Pol Maj Gen Suthip Palitkusolthat, deputy commissioner of the Royal Thai Police Office’s human resources office, had gathered money in Loei province for the Ponzi network which claimed to invest in stocks and properties.

The network handled about 5 billion baht a month and was active in all four regions, he said.

According to Pol Maj Gen Thanasak, Pol Maj Gen Suthip transferred 229 million baht from 192 policemen in Loei province to the ponzi scheme and would face public fraudulent charges, liable to a jail term of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to 1 million baht.

The Provincial Police Region 4 issued its first summons for Pol Maj Gen Suthip to acknowledge the charges next week. He failed to show up for questioning three times previously, with the latest set for Wednesday.

Pol Maj Gen Suthip Palitkusolthat

Pol Maj Gen Suthip phoned the regional office Wednesday and promised to return 30 million baht a day to the troubled 192 policemen in Loei starting Thursday but did not keep the promise, Pol Maj Gen Thanasak said.

About 20 people filed complaints against the ponzi scheme with the regional police office in Khon Kaen and they were from the northeastern provinces of Loei, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Roi Et and Khon Kaen, he said.

Pol Maj Gen Suthip was previously chief of Loei police and chairman of the Loei police cooperative. He allegedly persuaded local policemen to borrow from the cooperative to clear debts with creditor banks.

He also offered to manage the borrowed money, repaying their old debts and promising them monthly investment returns of about 5,000 baht. The 192 policemen believed him and transferred the money to Pol Maj Gen Suthip.

The deputy chief had failed to pay the promised returns since January and the 192 policemen faced lawsuits from their creditor banks.

They all became debtors of the banks and the Loei police cooperative.

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