Daily fraud update: 15th April

Chris Lee

Further arrests made in Forex-3D case

An alleged foreign exchange Ponzi scheme in Thailand has seen another of those accused of being associated with it taken into custody.

Forex-3D, which is accused of having tricked thousands of traders through a pledge to deliver high profits, has been in the foreign exchange news headlines for a while.

However, it has now been revealed that Sitthanat Pho-ngern – who is 30 years old – was arrested on Tuesday by representatives of the Department of Special Investigation.

It is understood that his arrest came about following the issuing of a warrant by the Criminal Court.

He has been charged with involvement in the scheme.

He is accused of having tricked people to use Forex-3D, which did not have the relevant licenses to operate.

Overall, the Forex-3D scheme is alleged to have scammed thousands of people.

Around 3,000 traders came forward to say that they had lost out.

It is understood that around 1.58bn Thai baht was invested in the allegedly fraudulent scheme.

This is currently equivalent to roughly £38m or $48m.

Media reports suggested that Sitthanat Pho-ngern was working from a flat on the Ratchadapisek road in the Huay Khwang district of Bangkok.

In a sign of how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has affected law enforcement operating in the anti-crypto scam field, there was extensive discussion in a local newspaper – the Bangkok Post – about health-related steps taken following his arrest.

It detailed how he was examined medically as soon as he was taken into custody, and the article shared details of his travel history, medical records and temperature.

SIM swap lawsuit continues in US

A lawsuit focusing on an alleged case of “SIM swapping” in the US is now well underway.

Michael Terpin is suing the major telecoms provider AT&T over claims that the firm failed to protect him against a SIM swapping incident which he claims saw him lose a significant amount of cryptocurrency.

SIM swapping is a form of identity theft which is used to steal cryptocurrency from wallets, often with the assistance of an “insider”.

Now, AT&T has requested that a punitive damage claim worth around $200m should be removed.

Terpin’s lawyers have come back with a statement attempting to counter this.

“We contend that AT&T cannot simply get the matters of fraud or punitive damages dismissed before we have even gone to discovery”, quotes the Terpin team.

“In fact, we expect to find this was not an isolated incident, but rather a pattern of SIM swaps and other negligent behavior that shows a pattern of moral disregard for its customers within the highest levels of the corporation responsible for consumer protection and for security.”

Documents which have made it into the public domain also indicate that Terpin is accusing some of the firm’s staff, which is a household name in the US, of various nefarious behaviours.

The “actions of AT&T’s corporate officers and managing agents were malicious, oppressive and fraudulent”, the documents read.

AT&T has attempted to have the case dismissed.

Chris Lee

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