Attorneys requested bail, which was 20 million baht total for the couple — but the court denied the request.
The case is known in the Thai press as “Baan Om Base” (บ้านออมเบส). Over 348 victims reported losses of more than 106 million baht from the scheme.
The husband and wife fraudsters, identified as Mr. Thanasit Kerdphum, aged 32, nickname Bum; and Mrs. Krongthong Kerdphum, 31 years old, nickname Bes, surrendered to police at the Songkhla police station on March 30th, 2021.
The following day on March 31st, Bum and Bes were brought to court. Their attorneys requested bail and wanted to put up land as collateral instead of cash. The bail limit is 10 million baht per person — so a total of 20 million baht for the couple — but the court denied bail to both fraudsters because in this case there were 145 victims that filed objection to the bail request.
Bum and Bes were brought back to a detention cell in the Songkhla prison — it’s unclear if they’re in the same cell or separate, but let’s hope for the latter.
Police escorted Bum and Bes through the back entrance of the police station to prevent chaos — as 10 victims had gathered in front of the police station, waiting for the accused to appear.
Bes, the wife, previously owned a cosmetic shop called Best Wholesale Cosmetic Shop at a local market. She recruited people through a Facebook group and page, along with customers on the ground, who also recruited others.
The scheme promised people unrealistic returns on money saved through the Baan Om Base program.
In one example, a victim said if he put in 10,000 baht he would be paid 2,000 baht interest in just 10 days.
For the first two months he was paid on time, every time. This increased his trust in the scheme and also increased his capital investment — which ended up being about 600,000 baht for one victim.
The returns were astronomical: 50,000 baht investment and you’d get 30,000 baht interest in two months.
Many victims borrowed money, putting up their cars and getting co-op loans normally earmarked for business or agricultural purposes.
Bum and Bes promised to return people’s money — but they claimed it would be hard because they had “money troubles.”
From the looks of it, money might have been their first trouble, but prison should be their main concern now.
Video of Bum and Bes at the police station:
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My take: Just about every week there’s a major saving’s Ponzi scheme case in Thailand that’s defrauded people for hundreds of millions of baht.
There was another case in early March 2021 out of Phitsanulok called “Milk Milk” where a popular university law student defrauded almost 300 million from students and locals in P’lok.
Basic personal finance education could prevent this sort of fraud — if that was a priority, it could happen.
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