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Suspected fraudster enlisted hundreds to scam coronavirus subsidy

A suspected fraudster dined at a Michelin-starred sushi restaurant (FNN)
TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 23-year-old man who is suspected of exploiting a government subsidy provided due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, reports Fuji News Network (Jan. 21).

According to police, Sena Yuki utilized about 300 persons in several prefectures to submit fraudulent applications for the Subsidy Program for Sustaining Businesses, netting the ring around 300 million yen.

On July 20, police raided locations connected to Yuki in the capital and Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture and seized 100 items, including at least one personal computer, smartphone and bankbook.

Thus far, police have accused Yuki and accomplice Ryuto Tamura, 21, of working together to submit one such fraudulent application last June.

Sena Yuki (Twitter)

Like a pyramid

The government’s Subsidy Program for Sustaining Businesses offers 1 million yen to sole proprietors, including freelancers, who have experienced a loss of income since the pandemic began last year.

Yuki used social media to collect members of the ring, which was structured like a pyramid with him at the top.

Second in command was Tamura. The funds from the each application were distributed such that Yuki received 80 percent and Tamura and the applicant received 10 percent each.

Sena Yuki is active on social media (FNN)

Social media

Yuki, who manages a bar, lives in a high-end apartment in the Aobadai area of Meguro Ward. He also owns a residence in Sendai.

On social media, he regularly boasts about his luxurious lifestyle, including dining at a Michelin-starred sushi restaurant.

The suspect also visited seafood restaurant Wazin in Meguro. “It’s terrible,” manager Mitsutomo Matsuda told the network. “It’s really unforgivable to abuse [the system] like this when so many are suffering, right?”

Similar sentiments were expressed by Jin Mori, the manager of teppanyaki restaurant Tenjin. “To put it bluntly, that’s the nation’s money. I’m really angry。”