A popular Thai YouTuber allegedly cheated thousands of her followers to swindle about 2 billion baht million through a foreign exchange trading scam that reportedly promised hefty returns on their investments.
Known as Nutty to her followers, Natthamon Khongchak attracted more than 847,000 subscribers to a YouTube channel where she posted dance videos. She also advertised private courses for aspiring forex traders on her Instagram account, posting images of what she said were her profits.
More than 6,000 people gave Ms Natthamon money to invest, the Nation newspaper reported, citing a lawyer who helped dozens of alleged victims file complaints with Thai police. Followers were lured with promises of returns of as much as 35% on their investments, the report said.
In her last Instagram post, in May, Ms Natthamon said she owed 1 billion baht to investors. In the video, she claimed her broker had blocked her trading account and funds since March, but said she would try to repay the money.
Ms Natthamon didn’t respond to a direct message sent to her Instagram account on Tuesday.
A Thailand police unit involved in internet crimes last week issued an arrest warrant for fraud against Ms Natthamon, according to Wattana Ketumpai, a police officer at the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau.
So far, the bureau has received complaints from 102 people claiming they’d lost a total of 30 million baht, he said. New victims come forward nearly every day, with most claiming to have lost tens of thousands of baht, Pol Lt Col Wattana said. The numbers could be higher, he said, as complaints may have been lodged with other police offices.
While Ms Natthamon hasn’t been seen on social media since June, followers are speculating that she’s fled the country, local media reported. Still, immigration records show she hasn’t left Thailand, said Pol Lt Col Wattana.
According to Thai media, Ms Natthamon came from a wealthy family. Her mother ran a karaoke business in Chiang Mai province. Her home had 14 cars and 22 maids.
Her family later went bankrupt, the reports continued, and she and her mother left for Malaysia to work as foot masseuses. When she turned 13, she met a wealthy man who asked her to marry him. The man promised her that he would not sleep with her until she was old enough, but he broke the promise. Ms Natthamon and her mother then returned to Thailand.
Ms Natthamon then became a dance teacher and a YouTuber and changed her name to Leah, then Suchada.
When she became popular on social media, she turned herself into a "guru" in stocks and went by the name Coach Nutty. Ms Natthamon allegedly deceived viewers by claiming she was able to generate hundreds of thousands of baht through just 16 minutes of trading, and 4 million baht in a single day.