Police said Narumon Eiamsaard, 53, had seven outstanding arrest warrants for fraud issued by courts in Krabi and other nearby provinces.
The woman allegedly told the police, "I heard a broadcast that a group of victims in Krabi was tracking me down, wanting revenge, and might kill me when they find me. I was afraid for my own safety so I decided to turn myself in."
Ms Narumon said she will not seek bail and has requested to stay inside the prison. She added that she will fight her case in court and accept punishment if found guilty.
Victims from tambon Khan-Ngern, Langsuan district, told police on April 19 that a Buddhist nun named "Pornpimol Saipetch", along with two or three "disciples", rented a house several months ago.
The group later transformed the home into a house of worship, where they conducted various rituals for the townspeople, they said.
One of their rituals required villagers to put 5,000-10,000 baht into a tray to purge them from sin. The individuals then needed to leave the money on the tray until the nun deemed them pure.
They added that the group also started a bank system, accepting money deposits, providing loans, and giving interest.
Around the beginning of April, people who participated in the purging ritual began complaining that it took too long to get their money out of the project. Depositors also were not receiving promised interest on their "deposits", said the victims.
The nun and disciples all disappeared from the village last Friday morning.
According to the villagers, 30 townspeople in tambon Khan-Ngern were cheated out of some five million baht.
Ms Narumon told police that villagers did ask her to perform various rituals in exchange for money.
As for the bank system, she explained that she only obtained a small amount of money from the villagers and gave out loans to only vendors and villagers around the Langsuan Market. All money gathered had been returned.
The woman added that she now has no money because of personal expenses and donatations she made to temples.
All victims were women, police said. Many refused to file complaints because they are wives of high-profile individuals, they said.
The woman was taken into custody for further investigation and will later be transferred to Krabi police for legal proceedings.
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