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Foreign entertainer accused in ‘international romance fraud’

Gregory Snelgar (Junes Acting & Modeling)
TOKYO (TR) – Maybe the life of a foreign entertainer in Japan is not all that it is cracked up to be.

As a part of a joint investigation, police in multiple prefectures have arrested four persons for allegedly carrying out a ruse known as “international romance fraud.”

One of the suspects is 38-year-old Miharu Hirose, a naturalized Japanese who is more well-known as Gregory Snelgar. He uses the latter surname for various modeling, acting and writing work.

Hirose and teacher Mike Taro Otani, a 42-year-old American, and two male Nigerians living in Saitama Prefecture — Elvis Sochima, 22, and Samuel Evans, 27 — are alleged to have worked together to pose as American service personnel on Facebook in swindling male and female Japanese nationals seeking relationships.

The suspects are believed to have defrauded an unspecified number of victims out of a total of 100 million yen after requesting that they pay various expenses, including for travel, according to the Chunichi Shimbun (Aug. 5).

Police have specifically accused Hirose and Otani of fraudulently opening bank accounts to receive the swindled funds from the victims. Police suspect the pair received about 10 million yen from five male and female victims.

Meanwhile, police have accused the Nigerian suspects of swindling an unspecified number of persons out of 2 million yen.

“Greg’s Days” by Kaori Kojima

Actor and model

Hirose lives in Tokyo’s Shingawa Ward. Under the name Snelgar, he appeared in “Brave Hearts: Umizaru” (2012) and “Japan Love” (2017). He has also made appearances on television variety programs.

For modeling work, Snelgar is on the roster of Junes Acting & Modeling and Performers Network. He was the subject of the photograph collection “Greg’s Days” by Kaori Kojima.

He writes about cryptocurrencies for Altcoin Magazine. He also penned the book “History of Blockchain,” which was published last year.

Police in Shizuoka, Shimane, Kumamoto and Hokkaido prefectures participated in the investigation. Police did not reveal whether the suspects admit to the allegations.