Two university students in Thailand have recently fallen victim to an internship scam allegedly ran by a Canadian man.
Following an investigation by local authorities, 37-year-old Michael Roberge was arrested for allegedly swindling 150,000 Thai baht (around $4,600) each from his victims.
According to Coconuts Bangkok, Roberge was apprehended by the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) at Pathumwan District in Bangkok under a warrant issued over a year ago in July 2017.
The suspect is now facing accusations of arranging overseas employment without permission from the federal employment registrar and fabricating internships that do not exist.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
An unnamed university student filed a police report against Roberge last year alleging that he had promised an internship at The Marriott Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Roberge, who promised the student a $14 per hour position in exchange for a coordination fee of $4,600, vanished as soon as the victim transferred the money.
According to CSD’s Sub Division 2 chief Col. Arun Wachirarsrisukanya, another student victim reported Roberge saying the suspect promised an $8 per hour internship at a Thai restaurant in Miami, Florida. Roberge requested for the same coordination fee and disappeared a month after the payment.
Based on the investigations, Roberge owns an employment service company called WorkWest Co. Ltd. The firm, which claims to connect clients up with 12-18 months internships in the United States, is found to be registered to a Chiang Mai address.
It was revealed, however, that the company has been shut down for an unspecified period of time. Allegedly, the company’s last job posting was back in 2013.
Roberge has reportedly confessed to owning WorkWest but denies defrauding the students, claiming that the Thai manager of the company who did the scam.
It was unclear if there are others who were victimized by the scam.