A lonely – and very gullible – Saraburi widower is out about 4 million baht after he transferred his life savings over two years to a woman he fell in love with on Facebook but never actually met.
Identified only as Preecha, the 53-year old on Thursday retained celebrity lawyer Ronnarong Kaewpetch, head of the Network of Campaigning for Justice, to help him get justice against 32-year-old “Nipaporn Yuenmak” of Chiang Mai.
The two met on Facebook two years ago and Preecha was smitten instantly. After chatting non-stop, they deiced to live together – some day – and Nipaporn’s younger “brother” even offered to draw up the financial-support agreement.
However, before she actually came to marry him, “tragedy” struck. “Nong Chaeng” told her online boyfriend that her father had died and she needed 40,000 baht for his funeral. He paid. Weeks later, she called crying, saying her mother had died and she needed another 40,000 baht. This time she even sent a photo of a funeral in progress. With condolences, he sent over the cash again.
Her parents cremated, Nipaporn told her betrothed that she’d gotten a job at a bank near Suvarnabhumi Airport but she had debts she had to clear in Chiang Rai first. She needed to sell three rai of land but the property didn’t have good road access, so she needed to buy another parcel for 1.3 million to make it sellable. But once she sold the land, she’d replay him, she promised.
Preecha transferred the 1.3 million baht. The land never sold, of course, a victim of the coronavirus economy, she told him.
Then, amazingly, another crisis emerged. This time, Nipaporn said she’d had guaranteed a friend’s car loan and he had defaulted, leaving her on the hook for 400,000. However, she promised, once the misunderstanding was cleared up, she’d get the money back and return the money to him.
Undaunted, Preecha sent the 400 grand.
Through all the crises over the past two years, alarm bells never went off for Preecha, until, one morning, her Facebook account was deleted. She didn’t answer on Line. And a man picked up when he called.
Nipaporn eventually called him from a new number, claiming that she was working in Malaysia and that she’d given her phone to a friend.
Through all the crises of the past two years, alarm bells never went off
Finally the light bulb went on. When he confronted her, Preecha said, his “love called him a fool and hung up.
So poor Preecha, his mother and sister went to the local police station, which suggested he find a good lawyer. Ronnarong – who most recently came to the defense of Chiang Mai firefighters allegedly defrauded of charity funds raised by American-Thai “ife coach” Sean Buranahiran – was only too happy to take the case.
Preecha told the lawyer that, over two years, he’d transferred about 4 million baht to the woman, leaving him with only 10,000 baht in the bank. He’d literally spent all his savings to find love with a women he’d never met.
Ronnarong said he’d try to track down Nong Chaeng, if that was her real name, and see what could be done. But – politely, of course – he said that this was the first time in his long career he’d ever met anyone that had transferred so much cash over so long a time without ever trying to meet his online love.