June 24, 2014 00:00
By Piyanut Tumnukasetchai
THE ANTI-MONEY Laundering Office (Amlo) has released the names and photos of persons suspected of opening bank accounts for fraudulent call centres.
These gangs have already duped more than 200 victims causing financial losses of well over Bt100 million.
At a press conference yesterday, Amlo released both the list of names list and the photos of suspicious bank-account holders.
“Close your suspicious bank accounts now or face legal action,” Amlo secretary-general Seehanart Prayoonrat warned.
He said many lawbreakers had hired other people to open bank accounts for them at the rate of Bt2,000 and Bt3,000 per account. The bank-account holders only opened the accounts and then left the transactions and accounts for their payers to use for illegal activities.
Seehanart said some of the people on the just-released names list had opened up to 30 accounts. “So some have earned up to Bt30,000 without the need to do any real work.”
He said 133 of the people on the list had lived in the North, 49 in the Central region and 21 in the Northeast.
“None lived in the South,” he said.
If the named persons do not quickly close their suspicious bank accounts, they could be charged with money-laundering, he said. This offence is punishable by a jail term of between one and 10 years and/or a fine of between Bt20,000 and Bt200,000.
“Banks that recognised these suspicious accounts but have failed to act will be fined Bt500,000 per account,” Seehanart added.
To date, Amlo has had arrest warrants issued for 170 people suspected of opening their bank accounts to criminals. Twelve have been prosecuted. On June 10, one was sentenced to three years in jail for a money-laundering conviction.
“If you don’t cooperate with authorities, you will face harsh legal action,” Seehanart warned.