TOKYO (TR) – Prosecutors have announced the non-prosecution of a 24-year-old man over the fraudulent sale of voting coupons for an event featuring the all-girl pop group AKB48, reports TBS News (Aug. 22).
In April of last year, Manato Fuse, a resident of Kanagawa Prefecture, received 300,000 yen for 550 coupons that allow for voting in the group’s annual General Election.
The victim was the winning bidder for the coupons, which the suspect never actually possessed, on an auction site, police said at the time of the suspect’s arrest in July.
Fuse, who was accused of fraud, admitted to the allegations. “I used the money to repay debts,” the suspect was quoted by police.
On Tuesday, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office announced the non-prosecution of Fuse. No reason for the non-prosecution was given. However, sources familiar with the matter believe the indictment has been suspended.
Prior to the General Election, fans vote for their favorite members of AKB48 and affiliate groups, including SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, NGT48, STU48 and Team Kaigai. The winning members are the announced at the event.
In carrying out the scam, the suspect sent a message to the victim prior to the close of the auction, saying, “If you don’t act now, another fan is going to enter the winning bid.”