Thai police bust call scammers who preyed on older Americans


BANGKOK — Thai police said Wednesday they busted an international gang that ran call centers to scam elderly Americans out of more than 3 billion baht ($87 million).

Police said they raided nine locations in four provinces in Thailand on Tuesday, arresting 21 suspects, seizing 162 bank accounts, 61 mobile phones, two cars, a gun and several properties. Another Thai suspect was arrested on Wednesday. American agents participated in the raids.

The suspects, who include five Indian nationals and 15 Thai nationals, are accused of involvement in international crimes, fraud by impersonation, defrauding people, entering false information into computer systems, causing harm to others, money laundering and money laundering. Charges of conspiracy to launder have been laid.

Fraudsters claimed to be law enforcement agents investigating money laundering and told victims their funds were suspicious and needed to be transferred for verification, police said. In addition to this fairly common trick, the suspects also hacked some victims’ computers, he said.

Most of the elderly victims included doctors, professors, dentists, military personnel and businessmen, police said.

Investigators went undercover to trace the gang’s money, which was laundered from gold shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in Chonburi province, 125 kilometers (78 miles) southeast of Bangkok. The area has long been known for harboring members of foreign criminal gangs.

Police said the syndicate was led by Indians with assets stashed in Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Peru and Poland.

FBI and US Secret Service agents alerted Thai police to the gang’s activities after 72,000 incidents of similar crimes in 2020-2021 led to more than $3 billion in losses, police said.

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