Thai Actor Pleads “Not Guilty” in Case of $24 million Bitcoin Fraud

Popular Thai actor, Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit, a 27-year old Thai actor, who had been implicated in an alleged cryptocurrency scam worth 797 million baht (roughly $24 million), was arrested on August 9th, 2018. He and his two siblings are being prosecuted for defrauding a 21-year-old Finnish investor, Aamai Otava Saarimaa, in the Criminal Court of Bangkok. The trio have pleaded “not guilty” for the charges.

The actor and his brother and sister,  Prinya and Supitcha, had allegedly conned the young Finnish investor into buying into Expay Software Co, the DragonCoin token and to buy 500 million shares in DNA (2002) Co.  Saarimaa believed that he was investing into a legitimate endeavour and subsequently transferred bitcoins to the trio’s wallet address.

Once the bitcoins were transferred, the siblings decided that the best course of action was to move the funds into a private account and invest in properties in Thailand. With the agreed upon contract not upheld and Saarimaa not receiving the dividens promised, the Finnish national contacted the Thai Crime Suppression Division (CSD), leading to the  confiscation of the assets owned by the Jaravijit family, and the actor having officials impound around 200 million baht. Further the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) had seized assets of the family which include bank accounts and plots of lands belonging to members of the family.

The actor Jirapisit and his sister Supitcha were arrested in August being and then bailed out. However, Prinya,  the eldest brother who is also the alleged mastermind of the scheme, fled to the U.S. This lead to his passport being revoked and extradited back to Thailand in October 2018, where he was then arrested and denied bail to his obvious status as a flight risk.

These events transpired after CSD asked Prinya to present himself for interrogation in September. Prinya instead decided to flee, which led to a Surrender Order, informing Prinya that he will be extradition if he continued to ignore the authorities.

Despite the various aspects of the case being complex and roping in a multitude of individuals, the three siblings have submitted a “not guilty” plea.