AMLO orders California Wow’s 88 million baht worth of land frozen

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The Anti-Money Laundering Office has ordered the freezing of five land plots in Phang-nga province worth an estimated 88 million baht belonging to California Wow Experience Plc and its executives after they were faulted with public fraud.

AMLO secretary-general Pol Col Sihanart Prayoonrat said Tuesday that the order was a result of intensive investigation by AMLO since June 2014 following request from the command for the suppression of offences related to consumers protection.

He said that investigation had shown that the fitness chain had wired about 1,699 million baht of money from its bank accounts to individuals in and out of the country during 2000-2001 despite the fact that the company was experiencing financial trouble. The money transferred constituted 99 percent of financial transactions undertaken during the period, he added.

California Wow Experience Plc headed by Mr Eric Mark Lerwin operated fitness business in 2000 until 2014 when the company folded up. The company which had several fitness studios promised its clients with adequate fitness equipments, trainers and other facilities.

However, Pol Col Sihanart said the company eventually closed down some branches and advised its clients to use the facilities of those still in business causing congestion and discomfort for clients.

This practice amounted to public fraud as the company failed to deliver the services as promised in its advertisements – an indication that the company has no intention from the beginning to serve its clients throughout the contractual periods,said the AMLO chief.

Chasing the money trail of the fitness chain, he said money was transferred from the company’s bank accounts to Fitness Estate Company with Mr Eric Mark

Lerwin as the managing director for the purchase of five land plots in Phang-nga province.

Later on, a board director was replaced by Latitude 43 company with Mr Eric as the beneficiary.