A monk who was pictured wearing aviator sunglasses on a private jet after tricking donors into giving him at least £670,000 has been jailed for 114 years.
Wiraphon Sukphon was catapulted to infamy after filming himself flaunting wads of cash and Louis Vuitton bags while head of a Thai monastery.
After the video surfaced in 2013, Wirapol – labelled the ‘jet-set monk’ – was accused of raping and impregnating a 14-year-old girl and was expelled from monkhood. He fled to the US but was extradited back to Thailand last year to answer fraud charges.
The 39-year-old was today sentenced for using his position as head of the Wat Pakhantitham forest monastery in Si Sa Ket between February 2009 and June 2013 to attract donations.
He told donors he would build ‘the world’s largest Buddha statue’ in jade and gold but used the money to buy 10 luxury cars and live extravagantly.
The con-man, who claimed he was the reincarnation of a famous miracle-performing monk, was reported to have amassed £20million at the height of his wealth.
When he was arrested, he owned luxury cars and multiple bank accounts valued at about £500,000.
Today Wiraphon was convicted of money laundering, fraud and violating the Computer Crime Act for raising funds online.
He was sentenced to 114 years in jail but under Thai law will not serve more than 20 years.
Wiraphon was also told to return 28.6 million baht (£670,000) to 29 donors who filed complaints.
A ruling on the rape charge is expected in October, a public prosecutor said.