Thai seafood fraudsters sentenced to 1,446 years in jail

Bangkok: A Thai court has has sentenced two owners of a seafood restaurant to 1,446 years in prison each for defrauding the public.

Last year, the Laemgate seafood restaurant had begun selling various food vouchers that required customers to pay in advance, reports the BBC.

Up to 20,000 people purchased 50 million Thai baht ($1.6 million) worth of vouchers, said broadcaster Thai PBS.

One such deal offered a seafood meal at 880 baht ($28) for 10 people – far cheaper than their usual prices.

Initially, those who bought the vouchers were able to claim their meals at the restaurant but a long waiting list meant an advance booking of up to several months, according to Thai PBS.

But by March, the company – Laemgate Infinite – announced its closure, claiming that it could not get hold of enough seafood to meet the demand.

It offered to refund customers who had bought vouchers, the BBC quoted Thai PBS as saying.

About 375 out of 818 customers who complained got their money back. Hundreds later filed complaints against the company and its co-owners for fraud.

The two owners, Apichart Bowornbancharak and Prapassorn Bowornbancha were arrested on charges including defrauding the public through false messages.

They were found guilty on 723 counts on Wednesday and sentenced to 1,446 years in jail each.

They pleaded guilty and their sentences were cut by half to 723 years each. They will in fact only be serving a maximum of 20 years.

In 2017, a Thai court sentenced a fraudster to more than 13,000 years in prison.

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