Man sentenced to 2.5 years in jail for claiming monarchy in scam

The military court on Thursday sentenced a man to five years in jail for using the name of the monarchy in a scam but since the defendant pleaded guilty, the jail term was halved to two years and six months. 
 
Chainarin N. was found guilty under Article 112 of the Criminal Code for embezzling money through a bogus royal project.  
 
As the then Secretary-General of the Office of The Under Royal Graciousness, Chainarin made claims about bogus royal projects to ask for donations from various high profile businesspeople and civil servants.  
 
For example, in May 2014, Chainarin was accused of asking nearly a hundred high-ranking public administrators and businessmen to participate in a programme called ‘Pillar of the Kingdom’, in which individual participants were each charged up to 100,000 baht (about 3,050 USD).
 
Most participants, such as Jirasak Sugandhajati, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Gen Worapong Sanganetra, Chief of Defence Forces, and Charoon Inthachan, President of the Constitutional Court, were led to believe that the programme was a part of a royal initiative and they had to pay a large amount to join.
 
Chainarin was arrested by officers from the Judge Advocate General’s Office and other military officers on 17 November 2014. 
 
According to ASTV-Manager Online, the arrest was made after M.R. Somlabh Kitiyakara, the former Secretary-General of the Office of The Under Royal Graciousness, filed a lèse majesté complaint against Chainarin.
 
According to the official website of the Office of The Under Royal Graciousness, it is an umbrella organization founded by Somlabh and other members of the Kritiyakara family in 2011. It was established to give support to and implement royal initiatives in accordance with the King’s speeches usually delivered on his birthday.