Tokyo cops bust software co. for dating sites with fake AKB48 member listings

Police allege that a dating site used a fake listings of Atsuko Maeda to defraud users
Police allege that a dating site used a fake listings of Atsuko Maeda to defraud users (atsuko-maeda.com)

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested the managing director of a software company whose dating sites are alleged to have defrauded users with fake listings of celebrities, including former AKB48 member Atsuko Maeda, reports TBS News (Oct. 5).

Investigative sources revealed on Tuesday that police arrested the 38-year-old managing director of Free World, based in Shinjuku Ward, on fraud charges. At the end of last month, the suspect fled overseas. However, he was apprehended upon his return to Japan.

Free World operated dating site management company Wing Net, whose employees are alleged to have accessed social-networking services like Facebook to create fabricated profiles of entertainers. Fans were then charged fees to engage in communication through the company’s 22 deai-kei “encounter” matchmaking sites.

In April and May of 2012, a 40-year-old man from Saitama Prefecture was defrauded out of 1.37 million yen to exchange messages with the fake profile of Atsuko Maeda.

Over a two-year period ending in 2012, Win Net collected 11.6 billion yen in revenue, the majority of which, investigators believe, came through fraudulent behavior.

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