The Appeal Court has increased the maximum jail term for a former chairman of Chulalongkorn University’s savings cooperative from 20 to 50 years for a lottery investment fraud that cost members hundreds of millions of baht.
Sawad Saengbangpha, now 82, was sentenced for colluding in the laundering of 42 million baht of university cooperative funds, and of swindling people out of millions of baht in a lottery ticket quota investment scam.
Two women were the second and third defendants in the case – Jiratchada Khunyodking, 25; and Pawisaporn Baiket, 29.
On Jan 31 last year, in the Criminal Court found Sawad, a former chairman of Chulalongkorn University’s savings cooperative, and Pawisaporn guilty of colluding in money laundering.
The lower court handed down an eight-year sentence for each of Sawad’s 10 offences, as he had the authority to manage the savings cooperative. The sentences were each commuted to six years, or 60 years in total, because he confessed.
However, his actual prison sentence under the law was a maximum 20 years behind bars.
The court sentenced Pawisaporn, the third defendant, to 3 years in jail and acquitted the second defendant, Ms Jiratchada.
Sawad, a former assoc professor who taught computer engineering at the university, has been imprisoned since he was arrested in May 2017.
Both the prosecutors and the convicted defendants appealed the judgements.
Sawad was taken from Bangkok Remand Prison to the court to hear the ruling on Tuesday. The two other defendants, who were earlier released on bail pending the prosecution appeal, also showed up at the court.
The Appeal Court found the case had grounds. Sawad and Pawisaporn had been romantically involved for several years, and trusted each other. The second defendant and the third defendant were also close.
Sawad had transferred 42 million baht to Pawisaporn via the account she co-opened with the second defendant
The court agreed with the lower’s court decision that Pawisaporn was guilty of colluding in the offences.
The court upheld Jiratchada’s acquittal.
On the jail terms given to the first defendant, the court altered the lower court’s ruling to sentence Sawad to six years for each of 9 offences, or 54 years in total.
Under Section 91 (3) of the Criminal court, the prison sentence will be a maxium of 50 years, the court ruled.