More than 5,000 people have come forward as victims of Phonethip Xaypanya, a con artist who defrauded large sums of money from people in Laos.
A warrant for Ms. Phonethip’s arrest came after a group of residents filed a complaint to police after being recruited into the jewelry merchant’s funds deposit scheme, which she claimed could provide 30% interest every month.
One victim who came across the service advertised on Facebook by Ms. Phonethip deposited more than LAK 26 billion, THB 3 million, and USD 180,000 into the scheme.
Laos’ Public Security Ministry reports that Phonethip managed to flee Laos via the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge, crossing into Thailand on 29 June with more than LAK 20 million, TBH 400 million, and USD 4 million.
Working with her husband, Ms. Phonethip convinced victims to invest in her money deposit scheme, promoting herself by posting lottery winnings on social media in order to persuade more victims to join her scheme.
“She had a good reputation in the business community and appeared to be trustworthy. Her jewelry shop was well-known,” one victim stated during an interview broadcast by KPL.
Police expect more victims to come forward to report losses in the coming weeks.