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B50m scam with mule accounts

B50m scam with mule accounts

A woman wanted for owning mule accounts to facilitate fraud, which caused more than 50 million baht worth of damage to victims, has been arrested in Rattaphum district of this southern province.

Pol Maj Gen Supakorn Chanthabutr, commander of the Special Service Division, led police to arrest Ms Tawanna Tarawasant, 55, at a house in tambon Khuan Ru on Friday.

The woman was wanted under arrest warrants issued by the Surat Thani Provincial Court and the Phuket Provincial Court for colluding in public fraud and inputting false information into a computer system.

Ms Tawanna had allegedly opened mule bank accounts for scammers who duped people into buying non-existent products online.

The suspect denied any involvement in fraud. She told police that she used to open a bank account for a close friend who run a firm selling construction materials in Surat Thani several years ago. She said she did not know that her friend had got involved in fraud. At the time, she was arrested for fraud in 2018 and released from jail in 2022. 

While serving her jail term, she met other people who had allegedly been deceived by her friend into opening mule accounts.

Ms Tawanna said she only became aware of the additional arrest warrants against her when police came to her house on Thursday. The former convict claimed she never fled because she had never swindled anyone, and she earned her living by selling artwork online.

A criminal record showed that Ms Tawanna had five arrest warrants on public fraud. Two warrants were from Muang police station in Udon Thani, two more from Muang station in Surat Thani and another from Muang station in Phuket.

The opening of mule accounts for scammers caused approximately 50 million baht worth of damage to victims, according to the police.

She was later handed over to police in Surat Thani for legal action. The investigation was being extended to arrest those who hired the suspect to open those mule accounts.

The woman with five arrest warrants for public fraud is taken to a police investigation room for questioning following her arrest on Friday.  (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

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