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Probe into yakuza-linked insurance fraud widens to include comedians

Keitaro Mito
Keitaro Mito

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday re-arrested more than a dozen suspects, including one organized crime member, as a part of an ongoing health insurance fraud investigation that now includes comedians affiliated with a major entertainment agency, reports Sports Hochi (Nov. 28).

Keitaro Mito, 50, a boss in the Sumiyoshi-kai, and 13 other suspects allegedly received health insurance payments through claims made with fictitious patients.

The suspects were first arrested earlier this month for receiving approximately 2.5 million as a part of the scam carried out at a bone-setting clinic in Suginami Ward between August of 2011 and June of 2013. The suspects also utilized a dental clinic in Chiba Prefecture and other locations.

Starting in 2009, the ring collected a total of roughly 120 million yen, which police believe was funneled to the Sumiyoshi-kai.

Among the suspects are Hitoshi Odaka, a 35-year-old official at the Suginami clinic, and Kazuo Hayakawa, a 38-year-old executive at a consulting company.

According to police, Hayakawa introduced roughly 10 comedians affiliated with the Yoshimoto Kogyo agency to participate as fake patients.

Mito and Hayakawa deny the charges while Odaka has admitted involvement.

Police also made five new arrests in the case, including Sumiyoshi-kai members Kenichi Suzuki, 39, and 47-year-old Takafumi Uchida.