A conman from Thailand sentenced to more than 13,000 years in prison for fraud has had his jail time halved to 6,600 years for pleading guilty.
Pudit Kittithradilok, 34, reportedly was the mastermind behind a pyramid scheme that scammed some 40,000 people out of around £120million. The fraudster is thought to have run seminars encouraging people to invest in fake businesses.
Would be investors were conned into handing over their cash, which would be funelled into ‘growing’ property, beauty care and used car companies, the Bangkok Post reports. Kittithradilok’s victims were promised large sums in return for their investment and were encouraged to get others to join.
However, the money was handed over to previous investors while he and the organizers skimmed money from the top.
After being snared, Kittithradilok was convicted of 2,653 counts of fraud and sentenced to five years in prison for each count – totaling 13,265. The Bangkok court then added a further ten years to his sentence for money-laundering. But because Kittithradilok admitted his guilt the judge decided to offer him a less harsh punishment – having his sentence to just 6,637 years and six months.
His two companies were also fined £30million, while Kittithradilok was ordered to pay £13million in compensation to his 2,653 victims with yearly interest of 7.5 per cent. But despite the colossal sentence on paper, Kittithradilok is likely to spend no more than 20 years behind bars.
Thai law limits the penalty for each different offense to a maximum of ten years, irrespective of the number of counts. In another similar case, another Ponzi scheme fraudster was sentenced to 154,005 years in 1989 – but got out after less than eight thanks to the same Thai law.
The court fined his two companies the equivalent of $20m each. The firms were ordered to repay around $17m to the 2,653 identified victims, with 7.5% yearly interest.