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Sumiyoshi-kai yakuza among 15 arrested in ‘special fraud’ investment scam

Hironori Ueda of the Sumiyoshi-kai
Hironori Ueda of the Sumiyoshi-kai

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Monday announced the arrest of a gang member and 14 others for participation in a 1.5-billion-yen scam that involved selling bonds of non-existent companies, reports Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 17).

Officers accused Hironori Ueda, a 38-year-old upper-level member of the Sumiyoshi-kai, and 14 others of persuading an 80-year-old woman from Osaka Prefecture to buy 85 million yen in bonds in a fictitious company called Japan Medical, which was said to be doing research and development in regenerative medicine. The money was sent to a Tokyo post office box.

Investigators suspect that the group has swindled approximately 170 elderly victims nationwide out of as much as 1.5 billion yen. Police believe the money received from the victims served as a source of revenue for the gang.

Ueda and four other members of the group have reportedly admitted to the allegations while the other 10 suspects have denied the charges, according to the Asahi Shimbun (Nov. 17).

According to data from the National Police Agency, organized crime is increasingly participating in cases referred to as “special fraud,” in which victims are conned in fake investment schemes. Police arrested a total of 484 gang members between January and September of this year for involvement in such cases, a rise of 162 over the same period the year before.