UDON THANI — The woman and her husband arrested for allegedly running a ponzi scheme that racked up 850 million baht in damages deny all wrongdoing on Monday.
Wantanee “Mae Manee” Tippaveth, 28, and her husband Metee “Boss” Chinpa, 20, maintain innocence as they were brought to court for a remand hearing, two days after they were arrested in Chonburi province. Police said they are searching for more people involved in the scam.
“I’m not stressed about it,” Wantanee told reporters on the way to court.
Police accuse Wantanee and Metee of running a fraud ring that scammed almost 3,000 people out of 820 million baht. Investigators said more suspects might be arrested, including an accomplice of Wantanee’s who she had hired to wire her at least 20 million baht.
Wantanee and Metee were arrested Saturday at a motel in Sattahip. She said on Sunday that she was signing documents with her attorney in Sattahip, not escaping.
Under her scheme, investors who pooled their money were promised a 93 percent return in profits. Police said some victims lost their entire life savings and homes.
Wantanee and Metee were charged Tuesday for cybercrime and fraud-related offenses. Driven by an avalanche of complaints from hundreds of victims, the Department of Special Investigation on Friday allocated a special status to the case.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, the fast-talking Wantanee – who had rubbed elbows with celebrities to shore up her credibility – said she was innocent. She said it was her downline who embezzled money.
“My assets and accounts are frozen. If this can be cleared up and I get bail, I will pay back all the money owed to everyone,” she said after an interrogation lasting at least three hours.
“It’s greed. For example [the downline] would only pass on 500 baht, so they could keep 430 baht for themselves,” she said. “I don’t want to throw shit, but justice needs clarity…you need to take care of your own investors instead of pinning it all on me.”
Wantanee said when the news of police investigation into her scheme broke out, she was filming a show on Koh Samet and had a group of people surrounding her house there.
“They wanted to use mob rule to capture Mae Manee,” she said.
When pressed with questions about others involved in her alleged scams, Wantanee denied comment.
“Stop writing sloppily,” Wantanee said. “I will answer to people that are necessary, not reporters.”
Her husband denied involvement in the alleged scam.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Metee said to reporters.
A Khaosod news clip of Wantanee talking to the police.
The moment police arrested Wantanee.
Wantanee on Monday.