An American-Thai vlogger accused of misappropriating more than a million baht in charity donations surrendered to Bangkok police today after two weeks on the run.
Sean Buranahiran, 39, answered a summons by Pak Kret police on Tuesday morning to acknowledge charges he misspent about 1.3 million baht in funds raised on behalf of Chiang Mai firefighters.
Through to have fled over the Cambodian border back to his native America, where he was born and raised, said he had disappeared to prepare his case.
Buranahiran told the media assembled that he had documentation o prove that nothing illegal was done with the raised funds, which he originally said totaled only 875,000 baht.
Pak Kret police chief Pongjak Preechakarunpong said Buranahiran reviewed three charges against him related to improper registration of his charity drive, tax code violations and embezzlement. He said the self-described “life coach” denied all three charges.
Pongjak said many questions remain and while Buranahiran was released, he will face additional questioning as the investigation continues.
The vlogger originally said he’d raised 875,000 baht for the firemen, but later raised that figure to 1.2 million baht. Charity-fundraising experts speculated he actually collected closer to 20 million baht.
Buranahiran admitted he spent much of the money on other causes, including hundreds of thousands of baht to promote his own page and “buy services” from companies he owned.
Tax officials and police began investigating and fraud charges were soon suggested. But before he could appear to acknowledge the charges, he disappeared, making a lone video message from an unknown location since.