Jump to content
brutox

American freed - In Thai prison 13 months .. Falsely accused

Recommended Posts

brutox

Until you've seen it up close, this nightmare is what so many people just visiting here can never understand .. I've been in the Thai courts as defendant and as plaintiff (civil cases) .. if a person doesn't have local-locals representing them (like really good local-locals), the costs of bad basic decisions made early in the process can be incredibly costly .. crazy costly.

Once you are in the system, changing the case trajectory is a Herculean task .. if it is not fully understood, in all its peculiarities, the system is an absolute dystopian nightmare .. to get caught-up in this mess, I'd bet this guy did not fully understand the system's peculiarities .. was most likely poorly represented .. and, did not have the counsel of local farang to guide those first critical decisions (understandably .. he was a tourist).

https://www.foxnews.com/world/thailand-frees-falsely-accused-us-navy-veteran-from-prison


Thailand frees falsely accused US Navy veteran from prison

By Morgan Phillips | Fox News

 U.S. Navy veteran who spent more than a year locked up in maximum-security Thai prison for a crime he did not commit finally returned to his home in Texas Wednesday.

Derrick Keller was arrested in Bangkok and jailed without bail in August 2018 while on vacation with his wife. He was accused of being the mastermind of a Ponzi scheme and potentially faced decades in prison. Prosecutors charged him with transnational organized crime, public cheating and fraud and jointly committing public fraud.

On Sept. 30, Keller, 44, was found not guilty, only to be detained again while trying to leave the country -- for overstaying his tourist visa.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy escorted Keller through customs at the airport in Bangkok and ensured he made it on a flight to South Korea, where his wife and daughter were waiting. On Wednesday the family arrived safely at their home, according to KHOU 11.

Keller, who has also worked as an actor, appeared in a series of corporate videos for the Eagle Gates Group, which unbeknownst to him at the time, was a fraudulent company that perpetrated a bogus investment scheme and defrauded thousands of people in Thailand, according to the Thai Examiner. Keller knew nothing of the scheme until his arrest. For a while after his arrest, Keller was convinced the matter would be cleared up as a misunderstanding.

It is highly unusual for an American facing serious charges to be acquitted by a Thai court. According to the Thai Examiner, Keller’s family had been told that 95 percent of foreigners tried for a serious crime in Thai courts are found guilty.

Keller’s family had pleaded with President Trump, Texas U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, and Gov. Greg Abbott to no avail. “They just won’t listen, and I don’t understand,” Keller’s wife Tanya said during an August interview with KHOU-11. “I do not understand why.”

"Just landed in Texas safe and sound, back with his family. There are not enough words for how happy we feel,” his family posted Wednesday to a Facebook page detailing Keller's case.

 

 

Edited by brutox

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
redbloodedgent

It's really wierd how our media can post a story with so little substance. I have so many questions as to how/why he was all of a sudden acquitted... Why was he even held at all (they don't even cite the charges). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Old Scratch
17 minutes ago, redbloodedgent said:

 (they don't even cite the charges). 

"Prosecutors charged him with transnational organized crime, public cheating and fraud and jointly committing public fraud."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
redbloodedgent
4 hours ago, Old Scratch said:

"Prosecutors charged him with transnational organized crime, public cheating and fraud and jointly committing public fraud."

Thanks for that! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Roadglide

He was acquitted of those charges, but then was arrested for overstaying his visa, I am guessing that his stay in jail counted against his visa.  The American embassy then got involved and escorted him onto a flight for South Korea.

I doubt him or his family will be returning to Thailand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brutox
17 hours ago, Roadglide said:

I doubt him or his family will be returning to Thailand.

For instructive purposes, I'd love to hear this guy's story .. how he got into this mess in the first place .. I can imagine some enterprising writer/producer out there is evaluating his story's commercial value .. maybe a "60 Minutes Interview", or a NetFlix documentary film short.

Thai jurisprudence is almost unrecognizable to legal systems we know in the west .. but .. but, it can be navigated with competent local counsel and an understanding of the Thai cultural behaviors .. as a tourist, with no local support, this guy can be forgiven for not understanding how to control/influence the initial barrage, at the police level (very important), and got drawn deeper into the Thai Vortex.

The single, absolute most important step when called to police inquiry, or court in Thailand, is get a good local lawyer .. not just a lawyer, but a litigator! .. do so immediately .. full stop.

I live here and have been in Thai court as defendant and plaintiff, and have several friends here who have similarly earned their local stripes in Thai courtrooms .. with all the contacts and resources we collectively have here, finding that good local lawyer, specifically a litigator is really hard .. not some all-purpose Somchai, who will do commercial contracts, visas, wills, plus defend you against murder charges.

Due to the necessarily confrontational nature of litigation (which is contrary to Thai cultural values), Thais do not favor that area of law, are uncommon, and are hard to find .. the two I know are like a super premium insurance policy .. without effective defence counsel, I can imagine this guy was thrown to the wolves.

So .. how effective was the American Embassy in getting him competent defense counsel? .. I am speculating here, but my guess is z-e-r-o .. except for renewing my passport and social 'meet-and-greet tea parties', my experience with the US Embassy in Thailand is that they are consistently pretty useless, across all services (excluding, of course, their world class passport renewal and tea party services) .. not spotty, but a total useless waste of my attempts for support .. I avoid all services offered by the American Embassy.

[ Yeah .. I am pretty bitter by how the American Embassy failed me on two occasions .. they were important issues involving other people in need .. there is no excuse for either incident.]

What I am not speculating about is that American Embassy bureaucrats cover their bureaucratic asses .. they do not refer citizens to qualified and vetted local legal counsel for American citizens in trouble here .. they provide only 'courtesy calls' to Americans held in prison, and a list of attorneys.

To get on that American Embassy list of local attorneys, Thai lawyers and law firms need only submit their contact details, and maybe a copy of their law license .. that's it .. so, when Thai attorneys state they are "approved/endorsed/recommended by the American Embassy", they are most decided not! .. they are merely 'on the list'.

So, was this uber-newbie on his own to find defense counsel capable of sorting through this? .. hard as it is for longtime expats here to find such help, I suspect his story is mostly about a hapless innocent being drawn into and gnarled by the Thai Vortex .. an instructive lesson for anyone living here, or just passing through.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KentuckyWildcat

Ok... so if i ever have legal problems, i know what i'm gonna do

 Log into my pattay-addicts account and send an urgent message to Brutox for a reference to a competent litigator. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brutox
9 hours ago, KentuckyWildcat said:

Ok... so if i ever have legal problems, i know what i'm gonna do

 Log into my pattay-addicts account and send an urgent message to Brutox for a reference to a competent litigator. :D

Hey, you KentuckyWildcat, you .. best not to get INTO trouble while here, eh?  :wink:  .. but, if you just cannot resist the Police Chief's daughter and you find yourself in testicle manicals, then you would do well to get early advice from an expat long tooth who has preceded you through that Thai Vortex with the Police Chief's wife  :D  555

No one of us knows it all, but collectively we have a pretty good idea of how to give an accused a best chance .. and yeah, I would be glad to share legal resources I know here .. as long as you are wrongfully accused, or committed some minor bonehead newbie mistake .. but, a person would get no sympathy from me if they are here to deliberately stir-up trouble.

Being arrested can get real hairy real fast in some countries .. Thailand for one.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bkkjunkie

the mistake was going to court - you can and should solve all things at the police station - everything can be solved and managed there - EVERYTHING -

after its getting only way more expensive and an difficult to control mess - with unknown or difficult to influence outcome - 

bad translators - weak lawyers and a different law system and way of acting at court makes it not easy -

so whatever you are accused of - solve the problem at the police station or even before that —-

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brutox
8 hours ago, bkkjunkie said:

the mistake was going to court - you can and should solve all things at the police station - everything can be solved and managed there - EVERYTHING -

after its getting only way more expensive and an difficult to control mess - with unknown or difficult to influence outcome - 

bad translators - weak lawyers and a different law system and way of acting at court makes it not easy -

so whatever you are accused of - solve the problem at the police station or even before that —-

 

Correctamundo, bkkjunkie .. unless you have serious contacts (preferably Army big brass, more so than Police), best outcomes are made on the street, where you are dealing with knowns .. the deeper into the system you are drawn, the unknowns grow exponentially, the trajectory becomes somewhat fixed, and you can be on your way to contest a predetermined outcome.

If your situation weighs in above the simple street-level horseshit, have that attorney on your phone, and know that he will come to wherever you are while the police are still figuring out with which charge they want to file.

Apply maximum effort, early.

 

Edited by brutox

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LuvThaiPussy
11 hours ago, bkkjunkie said:

EVERYTHING

You've either been misinformed or been living in fantasy land for far too long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LuvThaiPussy
On 09/10/2019 at 23:58, Roadglide said:

He was acquitted of those charges, but then was arrested for overstaying his visa, I am guessing that his stay in jail counted against his visa.  The American embassy then got involved and escorted him onto a flight for South Korea.

I doubt him or his family will be returning to Thailand.

Ya. Pretty fucked up. I'm sure the police/courts didn't give a shit and bother to give him anything to show immigration for is exit. Spends 13 months in a maximum security jail and finally feels free and then gets another 10 days or so in what I'm guessing was Idc or an airport jail cell. 

 

Thailand is a wonderful place but be very careful not to get in trouble with the law!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bkkjunkie
31 minutes ago, LuvThaiPussy said:

You've either been misinformed or been living in fantasy land for far too long.

nope -

real life experience - 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LuvThaiPussy
3 minutes ago, bkkjunkie said:

nope -

real life experience - 

Oh really? So you've been busted for every possible thing and bought your way out of all of them. You did say "EVERYTHING" after all.

 

C'mon bro, be somewhat realistic. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bkkjunkie

I did not say I have been busted for everything - I said everything can be cleared at the police station or before - as you might know , the police is not obliged to handover cases to the prosecuting attorneys -

been to many cases as negotiator and mediator -  

but I say - EVERYTHING is possible - 

here its all about face saving and damage repair / money - 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bkkjunkie

let me give you an example - how someone totally innocent ended up in jail - 

a 72 year western Europe guy - living in Pattaya with his Thai wife. He has a valid local driving license, dont drink alcohol - drives safe and careful with his car. 

A mid age Thai guy - drunk - and speeding looses control over his motorbike and crashed inside the Europe guys car. 

The Europe guy is 100% innocent - BUT - there is a problem - the Thai is dead - and there are 2 younger children without a father who feeds them and take care until there are adults - 

both parties sit together and the thai family is asking 300.000 thb as damage compensation - the Farang does not see any fault on his site - and is not willing to pay - at the end he offers 100k thb - both parties not agree and the case goes to court - another „mediation“ before the real court starts - fails - the Farang not want to pay the asked 300k thb - that the judge also suggest - so the case continues and the Farang got a guilty verdict - and has to pay 300k thb ( as deposkt directly) - and got a suspended jail term.  He does not accept it and goes to next higher court - there he receives a even higher verdict - 600k thb for compenation - and go to jail directly - until he can pay the 600k - as deposit until the case is finally finished - he ends up 1 werk in jail to get the 300k more to pay and is waiting now for a Supreme Court decision - that takes 1-2 years if the case is accepted there.

Lawyer, Translator and costs like „good life in prison“ are way more than the originally 300k - sure in his view - he is innocent - thats true from a western view -

for a Thai view - he is heartless and not helping and face saving - and he does not care at all about the 2 Thai children - 

Here you have to „agree“ - mediate and make everyone still „happy“ - somehow - money RULES - its needed for survival - day by day - 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ZRHuser
6 hours ago, bkkjunkie said:

let me give you an example - how someone totally innocent ended up in jail

I do miss the insurance part in your story. I guess the car had insurance, hopefully better then the minimal one (that guy would be totally stupid just having the minimal Insurance). With better Insurance, everything would be handled by the Insurance. So tell us, what kind of Insurance did this Guy have?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bkkjunkie

the Farang had the minimum insurance - that does cover only up to 80k thb - the Thai guy didnt had one himself - 

why would you think your insurance pay if you have no fault ?

Edited by bkkjunkie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ru4Real

Link to story please. No way something like that wouldn't be mentioned somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sulu
7 hours ago, bkkjunkie said:

let me give you an example - how someone totally innocent ended up in jail - 

a 72 year western Europe guy - living in Pattaya with his Thai wife. He has a valid local driving license, dont drink alcohol - drives safe and careful with his car.

 

Couple of things.

Your "one off" story simply doesn't support your claim of "everything" being negotiable at the police station - you don't even mention the police station.

And personally, given the original post/story, I doubt something like that could have been "negotiated" at the police station.

One is a local accident. The original issue surely runs far deeper than the local po-po. I'm thinking "FBI" rather than the "local sheriff".

 

@brutox As to the original story, you claimed the guy was a tourist "(understandably .. he was a tourist)" while the story says he was employed as an actor in a commercial for a Thai corporation "Keller, who has also worked as an actor, appeared in a series of corporate videos for the Eagle Gates Group".

So which was it ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bkkjunkie
21 minutes ago, sulu said:

Couple of things.

Your "one off" story simply doesn't support your claim of "everything" being negotiable at the police station - you don't even mention the police station.

And personally, given the original post/story, I doubt something like that could have been "negotiated" at the police station.

One is a local accident. The original issue surely runs far deeper than the local po-po. I'm thinking "FBI" rather than the "local sheriff".

 

@brutox As to the original story, you claimed the guy was a tourist "(understandably .. he was a tourist)" while the story says he was employed as an actor in a commercial for a Thai corporation "Keller, who has also worked as an actor, appeared in a series of corporate videos for the Eagle Gates Group".

So which was it ?

well a normal police station - the more countryside - the better - of course if that thing is running from Bangkok DSI you might have serious issues - already - and without „networking“ - its difficult - its depends on which level this case is run and who is involved - 

but as you can see daily - drunk driving, drug use or possesion is solved onsite already - not even need to go to police station - 

lets say it that way - If you shoot tomorrow some Somchai in the head - you can solve it - if you kill several people over years as serial killer and there is an ongoing investigation and media attention and finally get you caught - you will have problems get rid of it - 

— 

see the Red Bull guy - untouchable - even with media attention - 

or the Thai/US girl driving without a license make a van fall down a bridge - the family just paid some months ago for the victims family - 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WhiteThai
On 09/10/2019 at 18:25, brutox said:

Keller, who has also worked as an actor, appeared in a series of corporate videos for the Eagle Gates Group, which unbeknownst to him at the time, was a fraudulent company that perpetrated a bogus investment scheme and defrauded thousands of people in Thailand, according to the Thai Examiner. Keller knew nothing of the scheme until his arrest. For a while after his arrest, Keller was convinced the matter would be cleared up as a misunderstanding.

I guess I'm too old and skeptical, but I tend not to believe any employee who says they didn't know what their employer was doing. I'm sure there are many cases when they really didn't know, but I think those are in the minority.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sulu
1 minute ago, WhiteThai said:

I guess I'm too old and skeptical, but I tend not to believe any employee who says they didn't know what their employer was doing. I'm sure there are many cases when they really didn't know, but I think those are in the minority.

Now that could have you at least nominated for "King of All Cynics". :laugh:

This guy was hired as an ACTOR in a commercial. Do you really think he knew the company was scamming everybody ? 

 

spacer.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
REAR_ENTRY

On my first ever trip to pattaya with my mates we were on soi7 and a smack head looking fella from Newcastle approached us hinting for a beer. Said he'd been in a thai jail for the past 2 years. Don't know if he was lying or not but he certainly looked like he had been away from normal society for a while. When we said to him what about his visa he said that they just released him from jail with no funds and didn't even deport him. He was expecting to be arrested once he had the funds to get a flight. 

Wonder why they didn't deport him once his sentence was finished? 

Edited by REAR_ENTRY

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kandinski
30 minutes ago, sulu said:

Do you really think he knew the company was scamming everybody

Yes, and he got that nice smile that'll fool the non-cynics

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



  • COVID-19

    Any posts or topics which the moderation team deems to be rumours/speculatiom, conspiracy theory, scaremongering, deliberately misleading or has been posted to deliberately distort information will be removed - as will BMs repeatedly doing so. Existing rules also apply.

  • Advertise on Pattaya Addicts

    Thai Friendly

    Pattaya News

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.