Woman in Chula lotto scam gets jail

Woman in Chula lotto scam gets jail

The Criminal Court yesterday handed down a 17-year prison term to Methawat Khonman, one of the defendants in the Chulalongkorn University Savings Cooperative lottery investment scam that caused 641 million baht in losses.

Her jail term was later commuted by half to eight years and six months because of her confession.

Methawat, 32, was found guilty of breaching the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the court said.

The case was brought to court by prosecutors of the Department of Special Litigation in January.

State prosecutors had accused Sawad Saengbangpla, 79, an ex-chairman of the savings cooperative, and Methawat of luring 98 victims to invest in their lottery scheme, promising returns of 10-12% despite the fact that Mr Sawad had not received a lottery quota from the government.

Mr Sawad then assigned Methawat to open bank accounts to deposit money swindled from the victims. They managed to embezzle more than 62 million baht.

Both denied the charges in court. However, Methawat later pleaded guilty on Nov 13.

Mr Sawad, who insists that he is innocent, is still waiting for the court to reach a verdict.

After the ruling, Methawat was taken to the Central Women’s Correctional Institution.

In a separate case, Thanom Chanhan, chairman of the Maha Sarakham Teachers Savings Cooperative Ltd, yesterday called on the Crime Suppression Division to speed up its investigation into a group insurance scheme that caused 140 million baht in damages to more than 14,000 cooperative members.

A police complaint was lodged against Wichit Phiewkhao who persuaded cooperative members to invest in the insurance scam of Siam City Insurance Co Ltd late last year, promising high interest rates.

Victims said there has been no progress in the case which has been handled by Muang Maha Sarakham police since August.