Canadian caught for scamming Thai students with costly US internships

Roberge in red — Screenshot: Spring News
Roberge in red — Screenshot: Spring News

A Canadian man was arrested today for scamming at least two Thai university students with an internship scam that allegedly took them for THB150,000 (about US$4,600) each.

The Crime Suppression Division (CSD) arrested 37-year-old Michael Roberge in Bangkok’s Pathumwan District on a warrant that was issued by the Chiang Mai court in July 2017.

Roberge stands of accused of arranging employment abroad without permission from the federal employment registrar as well as arranging non-existent internships, reported Khaosod.

Police has been searching for Roberge since an unidentified university student filed a police report against him over a year ago.

The victim alleged that Roberge had promised an internship at The Marriott Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — which supposedly pays US$14 (THB461) an hour — in return for a THB150,000 (about US$4,600) coordination fee.

However, Roberge went dark after the victim transferred over the sum.

Pol. Col. Arun Wachirarsrisukanya, chief of the CSD’s Sub Division 2, said that another student victim has also come forward, alleging that Roberge promised them an US$8/an hour (THB260) internship at a Thai restaurant in Miami, Florida, in exchange for the same coordination fee, according to Bright TV.

In the same manner, he also disappeared, this time a month after receiving the payment.

Investigations revealed that the preparator owns a employment service company, registered to a Chiang Mai address, called WorkWest Co. Ltd., which claims to hook clients up with 12-18 months internships in the United States.

However, the company has apparently been closed for quite some time. While it is unclear exactly when it went under, WorkWest’s last job posting dates back to 2013.

Photo: Facebook/ WorkWest
Photo: Facebook/ WorkWest

As of press time, Roberge confessed to owning WorkWest but denies the fraud claim. He claims that the Thai manager of the company was the one behind the internship scams.

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