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Tokyo: Yakuza among 5 nabbed for fraud

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Monday arrested five suspected members of a fraud ring, including two members of a criminal syndicate, over the alleged swindle of an elderly woman two years ago, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (June 24).

Mitsuharu Sano, a 43-year-old executive in the Kodo-kai, and fellow member Yuya Watanabe, 42, and three other suspects have been accused of fraud, police said.

In May, 2017, the woman, 87, was falsely told over the telephone by a caller impersonating her grandson that he needed money “for a work-relater [matter].”

According to police, Sano is believed to have ordered a person in the ring to arrive at the residence of the woman, located in Kanagawa Prefecture, and collect 3 million yen in cash from her.

Mitsuharu Sano
Mitsuharu Sano )(Twitter)

Sano has declined to comment on the allegations. Meanwhile, Watanabe denies the charges. The other three suspects admit to the allegations, police said.

Based in Nagoya, the Kodo-kai is an affiliate gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi, which is Japan’s largest criminal syndicate.

Police have also accused Watanabe in the swindle of 2.4 million yen from an 81-year-old woman in Kanagawa Prefecture in April of last year.

Members of the ring target elderly persons by posing as their relatives and requesting money over the telephone, a scam known as ore ore sagi, or “it’s me” fraud, police said.