Thai fraudster sentenced to 13,275 years in prison

Bangkok, Dec 30 (IANS) A Thai court has sentenced a fraudster to a total of 13,275 years in prison, a media report said.

Pudit Kittithradilok, 34, admitted to the court on Friday of running a Ponzi scheme whereby he promised investors artificially high financial returns, reports the BBC.

About 40,000 people were persuaded to pour more than $160 million into his companies.

The court found he engaged in illicit lending and some 2,653 counts of fraud. Because of his confession, the court halved his sentence to 6,637 years and six months.

Prosecutors told the court that Pudit organised seminars where attendees were encouraged to invest in what he said were businesses linked to property development, beauty, used cars and exports, among other things.

According to the Bangkok Post daily, investors were promised generous returns, plus incentives to bring new members on board.

Pudit had been held in Bangkok Remand Prison since his arrest in August, when he was denied bail, the BBC reported.

The court fined his two companies the equivalent of $20 million each. Pudit and the firms were ordered to repay around $17 million to the 2,653 identified victims, with 7.5 per cent yearly interest.