OSAKA (TR) – A 40-year-old female employee at a beauty salon is suspected of swindling more than 600 million yen from dozens of persons in the fraudulent sale of shares of the operator of Tokyo Disney Resort, Osaka Prefectural Police revealed on Tuesday, reports the Sankei Shimbun (July 26).
Between September of 2011 and September of 2015, Ayako Takahashi, a resident of Moriguchi City, is alleged to have obtained 10.55 million yen from five women in Osaka Prefecture by falsely claiming that she had access to shares of Oriental Land Company at a discount through her uncle.
In carrying out the ruse, Takahashi told her victims that 700,000 yen in shares of Oriental Land could be purchased from her for 450,000 yen.
Takahashi, who was first arrested on May 30, admits to the allegations. “One part of the money [I received] was used at Tokyo Disney Resort,” the defendant was quoted by the Izumisano Police Station. She was sent to prosecutors on Tuesday.
Word of mouth
All told, Takahashi is believed to have swindled about 100 people across the nation out of 610 million yen. Authorities have thus far confirmed 41 victims in Hyogo, Saitama, Osaka, Wakayama and Nara prefectures.
Takahashi used word of mouth to attract victims. She built trust by sending e-mail messages in which she impersonated a foreign corporate officer at a subsidiary of Oriental Land whom she claimed was her uncle. Through the mails, she sold packages that included entry to Tokyo Disney Resort and stays at hotels affiliated with the park at significant discounts.
The ruse was carried out like a pyramid scheme. Shares of Oriental Land were generally never purchased by Takahashi. Instead, the majority of the money received (about 590 million yen) was used to pay what were said to be dividends and reimbursements. Takahashi spent the remaining 20 million yen at Tokyo Disney Resort and for renovations to her home.
“Disney has an image of purity attached to it. This is unforgivable,” a 28-year-old housewife who lost 100,000 yen in the scam is quoted by the Mainichi Shimbun (July 25).