The woman known as Mama Manee who’s accused of scamming about nearly a billion baht from thousands of dupes were due in an Udon Thani court today after she was apprehended along with her husband.
Self-proclaimed net idol Wanthanee “Dear” Tippaveth told reporters this morning that she is “not stressed” by the arrest – which occurred Saturday – and is awaiting to find out whether she will be allowed to post bail. On the other hand, police said her 20-year-old husband Metee Chinpa, who is accused of being in on the scheme, has reportedly been stressballs since being detained.
Right now the two face charges of fraud and entering false information online, violating the Computer Crime Act for a “share” scheme that promised investors up to a 93% return on their money. They are accused of filching upward of THB800 million (US$27 million) from about 3,000 “investors.”
Wanthanee, 30, spoke to reporters for the first time Sunday afternoon after giving her statement to Udon Thani city police investigators. She said that she wasn’t worried and, if freed on bail, would return all the money to her alleged victims.
She maintained her innocence and said she wasn’t at all considering running away after an arrest warrant was issued for her. She didn’t in fact disappear for days when the story exploded, but was simply visiting a cousin in Chonburi province, she added.
“I didn’t scam anyone … once my assets have been sorted out by the relevant agencies, I will return it to everyone. No one has to worry,” Wanthanee told reporters yesterday. “I just want to say, I didn’t run away. My arrest will just be a conversation with the police because I already told my lawyer I would turn myself in.”
Wanthanee also added that she isn’t in the wrong but is being scapegoated by another host of the share club she refused to identify.
Since her arrest, Wanthanee has been in good spirits and had even made friends with her fellow inmates. Multiple media outlets report that she introduced herself to them as “Mama Manee” before regaling them with her (alleged) crimes and spent her first night chatting and laughing with them all.
Her boyfriend Metee, on the other hand, has been looking grim since the arrest and repeatedly told police that he is “stressed.” He also maintains his innocence, saying that he did not know what his wife was up to.
Meanwhile, police said that they have been tracking what Wanthanee did with the money electronically and found evidence that another person was in on the crime. That person, they believe, withdrew THB20 million in cash they intended to route to the couple. As the investigation continues, more arrests may follow.
Wanthanee’s accusers say they were invited by friends to join her online “share” club on the promise they would see returns of up to 93% on their money.
The scam they allegedly operated was presented as the kind of familiar system in which people contribute equal amounts into a pool that rotates payouts to one member at a time. It’s a thing people do around the world – Thais call it share.