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Two Filipino missionaries have been arrested by Udon Thani police accused of posing as fund raisers for the relief effort of Typhoon Haiyan and pocketing the donation money for themselves.
The police were called by the JC Society Foundation charity group who told them that the two men, Ms.Minerva Macapili Bedana and Ms.Juana Espelita Hoyos, had been claiming to work for the charity and raising donation under the name of the foundation in many provinces, such as Bangkok, Chonburi, Phuket, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani.
According to complaint filed to the police, the two suspects were performing music around tourist attractions and crowded places, such as shopping malls, and displaying fake documents claiming to represent JC Society Foundation. The suspects would also reportedly pretend to register the names of those who donated their money.
Detective police officers later located the two suspects as they were playing guitar and soliciting for donation opposite Napapai Hotel in Udon Thani province. The police apprehended the suspects and sent their names as printed on passports to the JC Society Foundation for verification.
After confirming that the suspects did not exist in the charity database they were arrested and escorted to the police station. On arrival a the station they confessed that they were missionaries working in a church in Manila and later devised a plan to pose as fund raisers of JC Society Foundation in Thailand.
According to the police, the suspects told them they simply printed out official-looking documents from the foundation′s website before framing them in plastic covers to fool unsuspecting donors. They had planned to return to the Philippines and come back to Thailand every two months on tourist visas to raise more money for different causes. The latest being for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan that caused devastating damage to the nation.
A senior police estimated that the two Filipinos had gathered “hundreds of thousands” baht throughout their alleged frauds.
Ms. Bedana and Ms. Hoyos were charged with soliciting for donations without permission. The police expect representatives from JC Society Foundation to file charges on using counterfeit documents soon.
The police also urged citizens allegedly scammed by the two suspects to file charges against the pair.