Thailand’s $24 Million Bitcoin Fraud Case Perpetrator Gets Issued Pressure From Police To Surrender
Crime on the blockchain has become somewhat of a stereotype. Even in the very beginning, the Bitcoin blockchain was host to hundreds of thousands of illicit transactions. From the Silk Road and its copycat drug marketplaces to the thousands of TOR-disguised illegal online forums, the anonymity of the blockchain community has provided criminals with a shield to hide behind as they commit countless crimes under assumed identities.
But in the modern era, many of the biggest crimes using blockchain happen not in the shadows, but in the broad daylight. The industry has expanded significantly, but law enforcement and regulators alike have been slow to react to the budding technology as it grows all over the world.
As a result, it has become the catalyst of significant crimes in the financial sector, including money laundering and fraud. The anonymity, expansiveness, an outright-confusing nature of the blockchain sector has made it hard for officials to prevent major abuses from occurring in naïve investor and backer pools—and to catch those that commit the abuse.
But in a decisive move, Thai authorities have issued a deadline for the surrender of one fraudster responsible for a massive scandal involving around USD $24 million in Bitcoins. Finnish investment professional Aarni Otava Saarimaa had had his account nearly drained by a suspect, Prinya Jaravijit, who authorities believe is hiding somewhere in the United States. They have given the individual until September 17th—just three days from now—of this year to surrender to the police.
Prinya had already been summoned to appear before investigators three days ago, on the 14th, but his lawyer succeeded in requesting an extension. The time seems to have run out, however, as Thai police have issued an ultimatum that the suspect must now turn himself in before the clock runs out on the 17th of September.
One of the heads of Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division responded to the situation, saying that if Prinya fails to appear before a committee for official questioning, they will follow through on extradition proceedings in an attempt to bring him back to Thailand to face prosecution for his supposed crimes. At the moment, he is theorized to be hiding somewhere in the United States, the only suspect in the continuing investigation who remains on the run from the police.
Aside from Prinya, authorities are looking into his family, including his siblings and his parents. Everyone else in the case has almost immediately surrendered themselves and appeared before the investigation division in charge of the crime’s research. The younger of Prinya’s siblings was the first to be found guilty after it came to light that his bank account got a windfall of a sketchy USD$649,000. He continues to contend that he is innocent, and that his older brother did this without telling him.
A similar story is the crux of the case of the younger sister in the family, Suphitcha. She was given USD $4.2 million by her older brother, but promises that she did not know the source and is willing to give the money back to its source.