BANGKOK (AFP): A German man who ran an Internet scam, posing as a Thai woman in search of a Western husband, has been arrested for fraud, police said today. Rudiger Reischert, 50, conned at least 500,000 baht out of men who responded to an advertisement he placed on a matchmaking website in the name of “Thaee Maiyuran”. The money the men sent was purportedly to pay for air fares and to cover the costs of a passport and visa for “Miss Thaee” to travel to the West to meet her suitors. One of the victims of the scam, American Dennis Zorensen, raised the alarm when “Thaee” failed to arrive in the U.S. as planned. Police who raided Reischert’s Bangkok apartment and confiscated his computer found at least 100 e-mails he had written to men who responded to the ad. Pol Lt Col Panya Pinsook of the Crime Suppression Bureau said the German had admitted the fraud, saying he had embarked on a life of crime after his own Thai wife ran away from him three years ago. Reischert, an engineer who has lived in Thailand for 20 years, spent all his savings trying to find his estranged wife and win her back, Panya said. Then he hit on the idea of tapping lonely Westerners for money. “He thought that using a fictitious name was not against the law, and that people who sent him money were bad guys who wanted to cheat Thai women,” Panya said after questioning him. He added that although Reischert confessed to the fraud charges he still faces up to seven years in jail.
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