High-flying American arrested by police

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The police ran into Matthew Christensen when he had just returned from a trip to Ko Samui. The American is known to Bangkok’s business and diplomatic circles and presents himself as an international business and technology expert, particularly in the regional energy sector.

An American was arrested by economic crime enforcement officers on Friday after a warrant was issued for his arrest last November for operating an illegal investment scheme that resulted in the loss of more than 3 million in funds mostly held by foreigners living in Thailand, up to 2014. It is understood Matthew Christensen, 37, has since continued to live in Bangkok where he pursues a high-flying lifestyle presenting himself as an expert in international affairs and an expert in investment as well as an activist for the education of the most deprived. The head of the Economic Crimes Suppression Division (ECD), Police Major General Putthidej Boonkrapheu, confirmed on Friday that the statute of limitations in the case was about to expire.

Officers from the Economic Crimes Suppression Division (ECD) arrested Matthew Christensen, 37, at a hotel in Bangkok’s Nana district on Friday, on the basis of a warrant issued last November relating to the illegal operation of an investment fund, the subject of a complaint filed by the Security Exchange Commission in April 2014 that caused investors to lose more than ฿3 million. (Inset) A Malaysian passport in the name of Teh Cheng Huat or Mr James, also linked to the racketeering, provided by one of those tricked.

Royal Thai Police arrested a 37-year-old American on Friday on the basis of a warrant issued by Bangkok’s South Criminal Court in November that related to a case filed in an investment firm that was the subject of a criminal case . complaint to the Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECD) by the Security Exchange Commission under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1992.

It is understood that Mr Matthew Christensen, who currently presents himself as an in-house project manager for a highly reputable law firm in Bangkok, has been implicated in what appears to have been a fraudulent investment operation carried out in Thailand, in Malaysia, Hong Kong and China from 2012 to 2014.

How a Fooled Investor Described Seandar: A ‘High Yield Investing Scheme That Never Even Existed’

A duped investor described the program “as a high-yield investment program that never even existed” after its financial performance dried up in 2012.

The company at the center of the investment scheme, Seandar, with various pseudonyms and subsidiary identities, was named in the initial complaint filed with the police by the Financial Exchanges and Assets Regulatory Agency in April 2014.

Police Major General Putthidej Boonkrapheu on Friday said the statute of limitations in the case was set to expire on the charge within a week, prompting Friday’s police operation and the arrest of the US national who was identified by investors after losing more than ฿3. million in the program, as fund manager in Thailand for Seandar.

Police identified American vacationing in Ko Samui, let him return to Bangkok before arrest

Police told the media on Friday that they had identified Mr Christensen traveling in Ko Samui and Surat Thani province last week, but had waited until he returned to Bangkok to arrest him under the warrant of the court.

He was arrested by police during a meeting in the lobby of a hotel in the city’s Nana district, in the Klong Toey district of Bangkok, on Sukhumvit Road.

He faces a charge under Section 289 of the 1992 Act of operating an investment business without a licence.

Section 90 of the Act specifies that any company accepting investment in Thailand must be a legally registered private or public company and must obtain a license from the Minister of Finance on the advice of the Security Exchange Commission.

Faces two to five years in prison on a limited charge of illegally operating an investment program

Under Section 289 of the 1992 Act, a court conviction for violating the law means the accused faces a fine of ฿200,000 to ฿500,000 and a prison term of two to five years.

The company, Seandar, was linked to Mr. Christenson in Thailand and others across Asia as being involved in derivatives and futures trading with a particular focus on the energy sector, precious metals and valuable commodities.

This kind of story is not unusual in Thailand and is similar but perhaps not as serious as the case of the charismatic Dutch national Wesley Halbach who was arrested on Valentine’s Day weekend in 2021 while he was attempting to leave Thailand at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Crowdfunding effort for suspected Dutch fraudster to get him out of jail and fight fraud charges in court

Mr Walbach was accused and later charged by the Cybercrime Investigation Bureau with orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that left thousands of investors in Thailand out of pocket to the tune of £100million.

The American does not face a more serious charge of fraud

As for the Seandar scam, investors were promised a 5% return on their principle every month.

It is understood this was a Ponzi scheme which worked for a time from 2012 to 2014 until investors realized they had been duped.

The police investigation of Mr. Christensen and others named by the Security Exchange Commission on April 9, 2014 as Huang Young Lin, Tang Tia Julien and Teh Cheng Huat of Malaysia, concluded only that a offense under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1992 had been committed.

Significantly, Mr. Christensen is not, at this point, facing a broader and more serious accusation of fraud.

It is understood that most investors who complained to the Security Exchange Commission in 2014 were foreigners living in Thailand.

Others named in the 2014 complaint, including a Malaysian known to have promoted the fund

At least one of the other people named in the 2014 complaint, a Malaysian, Mr. Teh Cheng Huat, also tricked investors from other Asian countries into investing personal and family funds with the same attractive offer.

A tricked investor said he was referred by a friend and received 5% of his principal for six months before the money dried up in 2012.

He was initially told it was a temporary issue related to the company merging with a larger company, but then received no further assurances or payments.

Christensen to investors: hackers emptied the fund

In the case of Mr. Christensen, who was allegedly the company’s main operator in Thailand, as far as the Thai authorities were concerned, he told investors looking for their financial returns that the company’s computer system had suffered a catastrophic hacker attack leading to all investment funds are wiped out.

The complaint filed by the Security Exchange Commission with the police in April 2014 was filed by Deputy Secretary Supan Poshyananda.

It followed an investigation by the agency into complaints it had received from victims of the regime’s collapse.

The company names and identities used by those behind the fake investment firm have been identified in a warning urging the public and other victims to come forward, such as Seandar Inc., Seandar, Seandar Limited, Seandar Inc. Limited, Seandar (Asia) Ltd., Seandar Europe and Seandarfx.

It is understood that those who operate the system have also used the name of reputable financial investment firms operating in Bangkok and Asia which we have not named.

Known in Bangkok business and diplomatic circles

Meanwhile, Mr Christensen, since 2014, claims to have worked with a state-sponsored international regional development bank on electrification projects concerning Myanmar from 2014 to 2016, while later claiming to have co-founded an academy reputable educational institution for underprivileged children in the capital that exists, while also working since 2017, with an international legal practice in Bangkok that also exists.

He is also known within the foreign affairs community in Bangkok and diplomatic circles.

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Further reading:

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American and Thai wife arrested for operating illegal visa business in Bangkok using fake official stamps

Russian faces forgery charges after offering toy money to bar staff while paying in baht

US man found innocent after 13 months in Klong Prem prison detained by immigration at airport

American accused of fraud in Thailand claims he was tricked into acting as the ‘Western face’ of the scam

It’s a tough post for the Thai police and foreigners should get a better understanding of the job they do to keep order.

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