uFun Club scammer prison sentences top 12,000 years
After a long investigation and over a hundred arrests, twenty-two uFun Club scammers have been sent to prison in Thailand.
Forty four uFun Club scammers stood trial on Wednesday. Twenty-two were found guilty and the remaining twenty-one were acquitted ‘due to insufficient evidence‘.
One of the scammers found guilty was Natee Teerarojanapong. Teerarojanapong was arrested in June, 2015, as he attempted to flee Thailand for Cambodia.
How much Teerarojanapong stole from uFun Club victims is unclear. After police shut down the scam in Thailand Teerarojanapong organized affiliate protests and called on police to “fairly investigate” the scam.
For his efforts, Teerarojanapong copped a twenty year sentence.
In total, the twenty-two convicted uFun Club scammers received prison sentenced totalling 12,265 to 12,267 years. And that’s not a typo.
Owing to sentencing limits, actual prison time served between the scammers will be twenty to fifty years each.
One hundred and twenty suspects remain to face trial, with investigations continuing.
After Thai police shut down uFun Club in April, 2014, management fled to Malaysia. Despite receiving requests for assistance from Thai police, to date Malaysian authorities have not arrested anyone in connection with the scam.
uFun Club was one of the first MLM cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes to surface. Along with scams like BigCoin, it paved the way for current generation Ponzi points schemes like OneCoin.
Today the cryptocurrency niche is easily the fastest growing in MLM underbelly circles.
Despite some arrests (such as uFun Club) and multiple regulatory warnings (OneCoin has had over a dozen issued against it in Europe alone), it appears authorities worldwide are struggling with how to effectively regulate scams posing as legitimate cryptocurrencies.
I expect either this year or next we’re probably going to see a hard clamp down by authorities on MLM crypto scams. And if investor losses are calculated in some of the biggest scams populating the niche at the moment, it’s not going to be pretty.
But this can’t be! Danial Tay has said over and over and over and over that UFunClub/UToken were legal and he was not a criminal. He would never be associated with anything that was illegal as he was too honest.
Of course he ran to Malaysia instead of going to court in Thailand and proving the legality of UFunClub/UToken and he was not a criminal as he said he could. But I guess he thought he could do it better from Malaysia than in Thailand. (sarcasm)
the thai police had done a great job shutting down the ufun ponzi scheme, while other nations just stood by watching helplessly.
that said, the sentences doled out are just ridiculous monstrosities. 20 to 50 years to people who were participants [say even top participants] in the ponzi scheme and not the promoters!!
the real promoters ie daniel tay and others, had disappeared into malaysia when thailand police had halted the scam.
to throw participants in jail for 20-50 years is just unconscionable and i bet its going to keep me up tonight.
generally net winners are made to disgorge their ponzi profits. even if these participants were top recruiters or holding events they do not deserve to be thrown in jail and have the key thrown away.
who are these idiots who think up and dole out these hideous sentences, maybe they should get a taste of their own medicine. shameful.
20-50 years is nothing compared to what they were really sentenced to: the twenty-two convicted uFun Club scammers received prison sentenced totaling 12,265 to 12,267 years.
It is up to Thailand to determine what their sentencing rules of law are, not any of us.
The Thai courts could care less how unconscionable the sentences were to you. It’s their land and their laws. But it will make others stop and think of the consequences of their actions before jumping into these Ponzi’s/illegal pyramid schemes.
Heck, if you think these sentences were unconscionable, I shudder to think what you would think of the punishment in China. In China you get the death penalty for running a Ponzi and being part of the management team.
As the old saying goes, “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”
Any stats on suicides from U-Fun scam or ponzi’s of this size (and bigger)? I imagine the majority go unreported and unlinked.
@Anjali – Question: what kind of sentence would you see reasonable for people who’ve made a career of scamming spanning a decade + ? ie., the Ruja’s, Sebastian’s and McMurrain’s (all Onecoin) of the world?
Undoubtedly, these 3 have well hidden their money in bitcoin (unfortunately) and other assets which will be difficult to trace. It becomes a question to the criminals of, “are you willing to spend 10years in prison for a $20million windfall when you get out? 15yrs??”
What are the considerations for making massive economic ponzi fraud truly a deterrent? How many (naive/ uneducated/ other) victims lives ruined = +1 year? Just curious as to your thoughts.
For Ruja and Sebastian that number is probably closer to $50M+. Perhaps McMurrain just likes the “thrill.”
Tim, the last I heard there were two back in late 2015. There could have been more by now, but since all the forums are inactive, no-way to know unless the newspapers do an updated article on UFunClub/UToken.
My guess is they will wait until all the trials are finished before a detailed chronological story will be done, if at all.
I agree with Anjali. I am Thai, live in Thailand but educated in the UK. I was a victim of Ufun who at the time stupidly thought it was legit.
I have met Danial Tay in person and know Natee personally too. I was scammed $10,000 from this but not by my sponsor who like me though this was a legit business but by the perpetrators of the scam – Danial Tay and his ilk.
While we all were craving justice in Thailand, these sentences are no justice at all.
The vast majority of the people sentenced were not managment. They were not employed. They were members just like the remainder of the 500,000 ufun members.
Sure people like Note knew what was happening, but come on 50 years? In Thailand even murder does’nt get you such a sentence.
It is an absolute travestiy what has happened with this case. Innocent people have been jailed for 2 years now.
One woman even gave birth to her new born son in jail – she had sponsored few people and her only crime was being stupid enough, like most of us, to have wired money to a certain company called U Trading.
Perhaps one could ask the question, why out of the 120,000 members in Thailand only 2,000 made a report? It’s because we know that the justice system in this country is no justice system and we would not see a penny anyway.
No one wants to even see their worst enemy in jail for 50 years on what is essentially theft. But what makes this worse is that out of the 22 people sentenced so far, at least 15 of them are really innocent.
This is a very sad story and I really would like to invite behindmlm to follow this case closer and find out what is truly going down here.
I have no problem with Ponzi scammers going away for fifty years. That is however the people running them, which in the case of uFun Club would be Daniel Tay and friends.
The promoters they’ve nabbed in Thailand should be stripped of their illegal earnings and sentenced to no more than three years IMO, but I don’t run the Thai legal system.
Personally I think Malaysia’s assistance in tracking down and apprehending the uFun Club ringleaders, or lack thereof, is an utter disgrace.
i agree Oz. It really has made everyone sick here. Even people who didn’t like Note for instance, who was the top earner here in Thailand are upset with this sentence.
And yet here we are with 22 people serving a life sentence, and NOT ONE of the real criminals in jail – and this is what I want you all to understand. Not one of these people was an organizer.
Note owned U Trading it is true, but U Trading was set up to collect the funds to then transfer to Malaysia – i.e. Danial Tay who still ownes two luxury Villas, 4 luxury cars including a Bently and Rolls Royce and starting up yet another ponzi after the failed Unascos and SKC scams! Yet Malaysia does nothing.
He has them in his pocket and it’s an incredible scandal of extreems.
The point here is that these people are not Ruja’s, Sebastian’s or McMurrain’s. Those kinds of people, in the case of Ufun have not served a single day in Jail.
The people who are going to serve are ordinary family people – except for maybe Note who was the head (but not management of the company nor one of the people who started the concept) of the largest group in Thailand.
Natee, for example, who was mentioned in the papers as being a co-conspiritor was a member for just 6 months and actually lost over 1,000,000 baht in the scam. Yes he organised a protest asking for justice because he truly beleived (naively maybe) that Ufun was not a scam. But does this justify a 20 year jail term?
There are many such stories. Yes we were all duped and naive and many sponsored people into Ufun because they thought it was OK and legal. After all, many were in it.
Police, Lawyers, Politicians, Soldiers, Doctors – you name it. It looked legit and sounded legit for anyone new in MLM. Does this make everyone guilty and subject to a life sentence?
I agree with Oz that for this Thai case, the MAXIMUM should have been 3 years and the stripping of all collected money and then only for the top 5 or so.
Incidentally, if anyone is wondering the General has not been sentenced and has not spent a SINGLE DAY in jail – yet he WAS one of the management and made off with several million. How’s that for justice?
It is my understanding that the retired Maj. General and his wife are still to be tried, and have not gotten off scott-free.
If those sentenced are as you say just regular members caught up in this Ponzi, then yes the sentences are way too harsh.
What can you do about it?
What can you to make protest against this case and the Thai Laws? Very little i think.
Why havent Malaysia been more cooperative?
I suppose you know about ONECOIN/LIFE as well.I guess that also sounded legit and looked legit for many Thais. (anyone got the figure for Thailand?)
Thers are a lot of Thais beeing scammed by Topleaders like Juha Parhiala, Sebastian Greenwood, Kaj Naparstock, Pehr Karlsson and so on.I do wonder what country they will move to next.
Well, just imagine the scenario in the future when Thai Police starts to investigate OneCoin, which is the worst Ponzi, Scam for the moment. Horror!
The Topleaders will be gone with the wind.
Are you a OneCoin affilate?
(Oz sorry if i post in the wrong thread)
In theory yes he is still to be tried, however, he was the only person to be allowed out on bail while all the other people had to wait for two years in jail including a pregnant mother as I said previously.
It says alot in itself, and many here expect him to walk simply because of his position.
Unfortunately I can do nothing.. No one can but at least I can give a voice to them. If they are innocent then it should be at the very least known. If the jail term is excessive – which it is even for the top earners – then it should be know.
I dare say that a life sentence would be too much even for the ring leaders like Danial Tay UNLESS someone actually did commit suicide in which case F him. I sure do hope he gets caught though because no doubt he is a scammer.
No I am not a OneCoin affiliate or an affiliate of anything else. I learned the hard way through this Ufun saga and have since been warning people to stay away from things like OneCoin and YoCoin and direct them to this website.
And yes, I do hope that the OneCoin ring leaders set foot on Thailand but I still wouldn’t like to see them get a life sentence (again unless there are suicides as then in my opinion they become murderers).
Just my opinion of course but hell – a life sentence is excessive and shouldn’t be dished out so easily.
The problem law enforcement faces here is that they are only too aware these frauds can’t succeed without the “enablers” and it’s all too common for serial pimps to claim they too are only members and not deserving of punishment.
IM(very)HO, it was only a matter of time until something like this happened and, with the proliferation of multi million dollar schemes ATM, I don’t think it will be the last time a government reacts this way.
true, but like anything else in the world any system is open to be critiqued. this criticism is very important, because if no one talks about it, how will things change?
over the last few years the US has done some introspection about its harsh sentencing and reformed it’s sentencing guidelines. this is because federal judges, the american bar association, human rights groups started a dialogue to discuss whether long harsh sentences were really a deterrent to crime.
studies showed that harsher sentences did not really deter crime in any meaningful way. hopefully thailand can reach the same conclusion sooner than later?
i would agree that hauling in more criminals for shorter punishments will be a more effective measure than catching one criminal out of hundreds and locking him away forever. we cannot be inhumane just because we are lazy and looking for quick fixes.
the reason such scams are born and flourish are due to human greed [which is a human failing] and human desperation. we have to take a more holistic approach, instead of collaring a few criminals and locking them up forever as an unlucky example.
crime has always been a part of human society and is not going anywhere in a hurry, while we slowly evolve into a more moral and compassionate society.
if we are inhumane there is no way we will evolve to a better safer freer society. we can use regressive ideas or quick fixes like taking away people’s rights and chopping off their heads under sharia law, or throwing people into prisons for the most part of their life, and we can continue to live in a vengeful hateful world where justice is as immoral as the crime itself.
punishment is necessary as a deterrent, but it has to be combined with a deep abiding respect for human life, great compassion and continuous education if we want long term benefits for society.
last year india proposed a 5 year maximum for ponzi fraud which can go upto 10 years for repeat offenders, i could live with that. lengthy probation’s are also acceptable to keep tabs on released convicts.
participants of such schemes should be made to disgorge their rewards and be warned against future participation. if they are caught participating again, they can be given short jail terms of a few months and a period of probation. government and non-governmental organisations should actively warn and educate against such fraud on a continuing basis.
we have to do the Work with both mind and heart, to deter such crime and build a crime free society in the long run. doling out extreme punishment is regressive, or a quick fix, and is not going to solve the problem.
besides, it is totally unconscionable and we should respect ourselves more than that. society is nothing but a reflection of our collective mind and spirit. if we regulate ourselves morally, with respect and compassion, it will reflect in society sooner than later.
[sorry for the length. i get carried away! 🙂 ]
Spot on anjali. I could not have put it in better words.
I put no hope Thailand will do the same. not in our lifetime, maybee 50 years or thousands of years. I dont think the Thais are readdy for a revolution just yet. too much at stake.
There is a shift in the worldorder coming but it takes time. i know what you are talking about..
Now, to be fair to the people, the government must set forth a campaign. “Think twice before joining any and all recruitment based opportunities, or you risk prison.” (If you recruit others)
You sound like a good person. Before joining, did you have any concerns about uFun when you realized it was MLM/Recruitment based? Had you ever been enlightened about MLM’s track record? Why did you think this was any different?
There is an element that has been overlooked in the discussion of the sentences handed down by the court in this case, and it is this. There was a trial. The prosecution presented its evidence and the defense presented theirs.
Based on the evidence presented by both sides, they were found guilty. To receive this type of sentence, the prosecutor had to believe they were more than “Just caught up” in this Ponzi.
All major promoters of a Ponzi claim they were nothing more than a member like everyone else when their Ponzi de Jour goes belly-up or is shut down by the authorities. Yet we all know they are lying, but then they also lied about how real their “opportunity” was from the start.
If the retired Maj. General and his wife walk, then it would be evident that money talks and not the law. I just hope that the court sentences him and his wife to an even stiffer sentence than these people got, since this seems to be the law of the land for punishment.
Isn’t there some kind of appeal available to those sentenced that their sentences could be reduced if the appellant court found their sentences to be excessive for their crime?
thailand has a three tier judiciary. the current trial seems to have taken place in the ‘court of first instance’. the finding of this court can be appealed to the ‘court of appeals’ and finally to the ‘court of last resort’ ie the supreme court of thailand.
so i guess the people who have been convicted can appeal their finding of guilt or the length of their sentence through two higher courts. but they will remain incarcerated while they appeal.
it is possible for sentences in ponzi fraud cases to be greatly reduced in thailand, as is evident from this example:
even if these ufun top promoters ultimately get some reduction in their sentences, IMO, it will still be too steep a punishment for their crimes.
Honestly speaking, at the time I was very ignorant about the subject both MLM and Crypto. I was never involved in anything MLM before Ufun nor after. It was the first and last time for me.
I simply thought it was OK to get into something like this, after all companies like Amway have been at it for long, I thought, and this Ufun business had it’s own tower in the heart of Bangkok, which I visited, and it had events every week.
I remember going and there was even a policeman there joining – so what was to go wrong? Perfectly legit business were my thoughts.
I also did not understand anything about Crypto’s. I knew I missed Bitcoin, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. It increased in price, and it was spendable. In my street alone there were three shops which accepted Utoken. I know of people selling property for Utoken!
So, in my ignorance I swallowed the bait as did several thousands of people. It was the perfect scam in my opinion.
Since Ufun, I have done much research about both industries. I stay away from MLM, and I got into Bitcoin and Ethereum. I trade Bitcoin and mine Ethereum now and of course I know what I am doing is legit. I will not get caught up again in it.
@Lynn, I of course know what guilty people say – they are always innocent. Unfortunately, in this case I know that at least 15 of those sentenced truly are. I am not suggesting they were thrown in jail for fun.
Unfortunately, these people got caught up in this mess because like most, they had no clue they even broke the law. The way Ufun operated was that each member had to transfer funds to their upline in a very long chain of transfers.
One woman I know used to help people transfer funds from her bank account because many in her village dont have bank accounts. She did not even have much of a downline. About 9 or 10 something like that, but she accepted cash from hundreds of people which amounted to several millions of baht then transferred them up to the company.
She never even made a penny! I know, she was stupid to do so, if nothing else, because it would have raised the eyebrows of the tax man, but not everyone is smart – and that, I think is what makes these kind of scams sad.
They prey on the less fortunate, ill informed people. They will use you as best they can, and once they have no use for you, then you are left alone to rot in jail.
Now it should be called “unfun club”.
just slap them all on the hand and tell them not to do it again, I am sure that will work for the long haul.
As serial scammers will see that is all they have coming to them so they can resume scamming.
@ Terrence B
i’m definitely not saying there should be no punishment at all.
first time participants should disgorge their rewards and be warned. serial offenders should get some jail time.
participants in ponzi pyramid schemes are largely average citizens who may make a mistake due to misinformation/greed/desperation. a warning is generally enough for most people. of course there will always be a section of thick skinned people who will be repeat offenders and they can get some jail time. just because a small section of people don’t mend easily, doesn’t mean all participants have to be overpunished.
you know, when our parents punished us for making mistakes, the punishments were always ‘just enough’ to deter us, but not break us. this balance was achieved naturally because their punishments came from a place of deep unconditional love. similarly, we should approach sentencing from a place of deep unconditional respect for human life, and we will then hand out fair sentences which do not cross the line into cruelty.
cruel punishment will only foster a feeling of anger and hate in society, but fair punishment will foster a feeling of goodness and justness. it is easy to see which type of environment will have less crime.
this is what a guru told me, and though it is a simple concept, i think it has wisdom.
I am a us citizen who taught This was a legitimate company so I invested over six thousand buying token bought a 2 star package. I lost all that money.
I am not the person to celebrate at another human been demise, I really do think justice was served to those sponsoring / promoting the scam.
I love Thailand I was scam 2 time my own Thai girlfriend empty our account an told me her name is one the account so she has the right to take all the money out, I can wait for the Thai Laws to catch up with these scammer.
The justice system in Thailand is a bit harsh. I can’t say I am feeling bad sentencing for the promoters do the crime then you have to spend in the time.
The ones that where con into it but still profited from it they got justice. The one who truly did not know I feel bad for them, the guys at the top you should turn yourself in if you don’t I hope when justice finds you, the sentencing will not be so lenient.
karma is real thank you Thai government keep going after all of them until you get every last one.
How do victims of this ufun scam recover anything? we are not thailander or malaysian. please send help if any.
Two plus years after the fact? Your money is long gone.
Sorry for your loss.