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Yakuza not prosecuted over alleged Amazon gift card swindle

TOKYO (TR) –  Prosecutors last week announced the non-prosecution of two men, including an organized crime member, who were suspected members of a fraud ring that swindled victims via online gift cards, reports TV Asahi (Jan. 7).

In November, 2017, a woman, then aged 58 and living in Yokohama, was falsely told over the telephone by a member of the ring that she had accumulated unpaid fees “for a pay-to-view video site.”

The woman was then instructed to visit a convenience store to buy 250,000 yen in gift cards that were later obtained by the ring.

This past November police arrested Satoshi Kuwata, a 37-year-old member of the Sumiyoshi-kai, and 38-year-old Haroyuki Ochi. They were believed to be the ringleaders.

On January 4, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office announced the non-prosecution of Kuwata and Ochi. No reason for the non-prosecution was given.

Satoshi Kuwata
Satoshi Kuwata of the Sumiyoshi-kai (Twitter)

Upon their arrest Kuwata and Ochi denied the allegations. Two weeks later, officers raided an office of the Aota-kai, a second-tier gang of the Sumiyoshi-kai, in Sanmu City, Chiba Prefecture in search of evidence in the case.

Police believe the ring used similar means to swindle a total of 75 million yen from multiple victims nationwide.