Facebook-based gold auctioneer arrested for fraud

Facebook-based gold auctioneer arrested for fraud

PATHUM THANI – Police arrested a 32-year-old woman early Friday morning for alleged fraud totalling 28 million baht from bogus gold auctions via Facebook.

Ratchuda Thongyaem, of Lam Luk Ka district, was detained when police raided a room at the Check-in Resort in Thanya Buri district about 1am.

She was wanted under an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court on Thursday on charges of public fraud and the dissemination of false information through computer systems.

Police said it was alleged the woman opened a Facebook account in the Thai name of Ratchuda Thongyaem late last year, offering gold for auction at discount prices.

She claimed to represent a gold shop and was therefore able to source cheap gold for bidders. There were 4-5 auctions a day, attracting many bidders, and she undertook to deliver the gold to the winners in 15-20 days.

Initially, customers received the gold as promised and were able to profit from reselling it. These early customers then recruited new bidders and increased investment for speculative purposes.

Gold delivery stopped in February, and 64 people complained they had a total of 28 million baht to the fraud, police said.

Ms Ratchuda was being held for questioning.

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