To be filed under “Who can you trust nowadays?” Shukan Jitsuwa (May 24) reports on the bust of an organization offering consulting services regarding organized crime.
For its November 3 issue, the weekly tabloid profiled the Osaka-based Nationwide Organized Crime Relationship Certification Association, which performed background checks on firms or entities to expose any possible ties to crime syndicates.
It seems, however, that the association was up to a fair bit of criminal activity itself. On May 2, investigators with the Osaka prefectural police arrested Akira Tanaka, 57, and two others for attempted fraud.
Investigators believe that the association was attempting to profit from the recently passed anti-gang legislation anti-gang that started on October 1 and prohibits ordinary citizens from doing business transactions with gangsters.
Starting last autumn, the association sent documents to individual company owners and shops in an attempt to solicit members. The modus operandi was something like a pyramid scheme.
The fee to join was 10 million yen, which allowed members the ability “to share data on boryokudan” (or organized crime) groups. Profit could then be made by getting others to join the association.
Individual investigations were sold as tickets priced at 1,000 yen each. “An investigation would be carried out by the association and a report provided that simply gives a yes or no designation regarding the targeted entity’s involvement with organized crime,” says a company president who was approached by the association.
In Shukan Jitsuwa’s interview with the association last fall, it claimed that “the assessments (of the companies) are sourced from individuals associated with the police” and is not a form of fraud. The association wound up using the resulting article as a form of promotion for its business.
“In reality, the association did not conduct any assessments and had no connections to the police,” says a reporter from a newspaper covering the domestic beat. “Needless to say, it could not verify a targeted entity’s involvement with organized crime. It was simply looking for ways to collect money.”
Representatives from the Osaka prefectural police were understandably upset in having been seen as supporters for the association. “We have never given away the personal information of private companies,” a spokesperson tells the tabloid. “We will penalize severely for this fraud using the name of the police.”
Gangsters, too, are feeling violated.
“The reason you have this type of fraud is that yakuza groups are targets,” says a person associated with a gang. “We are also upset: Since we cannot take action, as that would possibly be scrutinized under the law, we want the police authorities to take care of this matter.” (K.N.)
Source: “Yappari tekihatsu sareta boryokudan to keisatsu wo tekinimawashita bohaijoreichin shobai,” Shukan Jitsuwa (May 24, pages 227-228)