To all intents and purposes the meeting had a ‘feel good’ factor.  The local newspaper the ‘Pattaya Mail’ described how the ‘charismatic Thai leader’ Chanyut Hetrakul was inducted into the American organization ‘Optimist International’ at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pattaya.

And among the honoured guests to witness this ‘historic event’ in 2008 were Banglamuang District Chief Mongkol Thamakittikhun with a high-ranking member of the Ministry of Culture.

But the only ‘historic’ nature of this event is probably the fact that never in living history have so many undesireables been inducted into an association which in its charter is ‘dedicated to bringing out the best in kids’.

The event was organized by Drew Walter Noyes, 56, publisher of the ‘Pattaya Times’ who this week was arrested in Pattaya on extortion charges.  And along came a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of who should not be in Thailand.

 Two founder members, Michael Strouse, and Brian Wright,56, have already been highlighted on this site.

Pornographer Michael Strouse

Michael Strouse (above) was an American Porn King, who got Board of Investment status to open up a software company called ‘Final Wave’ in the beach resort. And while its trading in porn is not illegal in the United States BOI did not know Strouse’s company was setting up internet sex chat lines.

And founder member Brian Wright, of ‘My Thai Fiancee’, a drinking buddy of Drew Noyes, who specializes in providing American visas for Thai brides, has been charged with child rape and faces trial.

But there is more.  The Pattaya Mail continued: ‘Nine new inductees came from Bangkok led by Richard Bell who was an Optimist for many years in America and his father Paul Bell who has been an Optimist Club member for 43 years and now by his induction continues his help to children in Thailand. The other leading business people from Bangkok joining the club were Joe Chailom, Colin Wilkes, Tim Broderick, John Guchone, Fabio Fe, Thanawut Vathincha and Natsajee Thongleam. ‘

So who are these people?

Paul Richard Bell, 64: aka Dr.Richard King

Pattaya Today picture and caption. Names wrong

American Richard Bell is a boiler room fraudster responsibly for swindling people out of millions of dollars and an associate of Noyes. 

His name is on many frauds carried out by boiler rooms working out of Bangkok.  

Companies include International Asset Management Group, formerly of  ‘Q House’ , Convent Road, which was raided in Bangkok in August 2001.


Drew Noyes under arrest with his wife, and editor of the ‘Pattaya Times’ Wanrapa Boonsu

In 1993 in Orange County, California a judge awarded American Tom Flanagan US$25,000 to be paid by Noyes, who posing as a medical doctor, and claiming to have been to Harvard Business School and Dukes University, sold him a heap of bogus shares. The judgment has been renewed this year, 2012, and say Flanagan, is now for US$72,000.

Bogus shares are of course what boiler rooms sell.


Bell was not around in Bangkok at the time of the raids, but later was arrested in Australia and pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to 21 charges laid by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in relation to his activities as a cold-caller operating out of Thailand and the Philippines.  He was convicted and incredibly given just two six month suspended prison sentences and fines of AU$12,000.

‘This outcome shows that ASIC is determined to pursue share cold-callers who come to Australia, in addition to assisting Asian regulators shut down and prosecute share cold-callers in their countries’, ASIC’s Executive Director Consumer Protection, Peter Kell said at the time – something of an overstatement.

Many of the victims were in Australia and had lost millions. Bell was personally responsible for taking AU$500,000. At the time Bell already had his registration under the US Commodities and Exchange Act revoked and been fined US$100,000 in the U.S.

His other scams relate to the ALV group, Green World Solutions Ltd., Global Business Services Ltd., and Bangkok Life and he is an associate of John Guchone.

(Update March 27 2012) More recently they have been running boiler rooms selling shares under the name Aberdeen Ltd., and Amplius Group Asia out of the U-Chuliang building in Rama IV Road, Bangkok – well that’s a virtual office too. You won’t find anybody here.

Somehow Bell also managed to be accepted as a businessman by the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand.

John Victor Guchone

New Yorker John Guchone, left in suit, is another ‘ boiler room’ charmer.  Known as ‘Sir Gooch’ he was thrown out of the U.S.  National Association of Securities Dealers twenty years ago along with his company Greenway Capital. Like Bell he found Thailand an easy country to do business in.
Mr. Guchone is being sought by defrauded investors in the Spiriton Media Group, “SOM” .

Currently he specializes in ‘green’ boiler room frauds. All the companies he promotes have an environmental theme similar to the one exposed on this site not long ago.

Also linked to ‘SOM’ are Bell and U.S. citizens Jack Prather and Marks S Hutcherson, who use the front company Texas Oil Exploration, and Energy Exploration International. All have recently been targeting victims in Europe.

Mark Hutcherson

Hutcherson (left) was a kidnap victim in Bangkok in 2007. He was rescued  from a house in Lard Prao, Bangkok, all trussed up like a chicken (see picture at beginning of this story)

But when he was saved there was no mention of his boiler room activities despite the fact that the FBI were involved and he had offences recorded against him in the United States.

Instead he was described as either being in ‘oil and gas’ or ‘in import and export’.

Two American-Thais and three Thai policeman went down for the crime. But a senior policeman is reported to have run off with the US$400,000 ransom money.

At the time, some agents and a few enterprising policeman had started targetting boiler room bosses because (1) They had lots of cash. (2) They did not want publicity.  A British boiler room operator was also kidnapped. The kidnap received no publicity, a ransom was paid, and he was freed.

Above – The American-Thai Cleary brothers, James and John, and two of the three policeman charged with Hutcherson’s kidnap – Daily News

Hutcherson has been investing heavily in Bangkok’s ‘night life’ along with two other Georgia  American ‘boiler room’ operators and one Brit.

Colin Wilkes, aka Colin Smith, aka Jack S

Yet another ‘boiler room’ scammer Wilkes is British and a former partner of Bell. Also like Guchone, and together with Guchone, has been selling shares in companies with environmentally sound names. But people who put cash into his Solar Energy Solutions and Green World Solutions will not be getting their money back.  Has an office in Surawongse Road, Bangkok, well a virtual office anyway, and allegedly lives in 47, Sukhumvit Soi 5, which must have been a bit noisy.

City of London Fraud Squad have details of victims of the SES fraud found in a suitcase search not so long ago.

So that’s how Optimists International in Pattaya started, but as has been reported here, it did not last. The Head Office in the States cancelled their charter.  But I do not think many of these guys wanted to devote much of their time taking kids on fishing expeditions, which is what the group seemed to be doing.

Comment: Now may be  the time for some well known Thais to disassociate themselves from certain foreigners in Pattaya and maybe give up their Knighthoods as members of the Knights of Rizal and other such organisations which, while of course honourable, have no relevance here whatsoever.

Pic – left: Drew Noyes and Brian Wright bailed on child rape charges.

Drew Noyes, second from right, chosen out of a rigorous selection of many thousands to become a Knight of Rizal by Pattaya People boss Sir Niels Colov. The Mayor is one too. – Picture Facebook – Knights of Rizal Pattaya