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Yakuza busted in 1 billion yen remittance fraud, recruited university students

The Yamaguchi-gumi crest
The Yamaguchi-gumi crest
TOKYO (TR) – Four suspects arrested in late January on suspicion of swindling elderly victims in a bank account remittance scam were hit with fresh fraud charges by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 20).

Yujiro Kobayashi, a 29-year-old member of the Yamaguchi-gumi criminal syndicate, and three other suspects, who are also gang members, were taken into custody for a second time. Investigators believe the group scammed approximately 450 individuals in the Tokyo metropolitan area out of more than one billion yen since July of last year. The scam involved phoning a victim and pretending to be a relative in need of money.

According to investigators, three of the suspects, including Kobayashi, who served as the ring’s leader, have denied the latest allegations, while the fourth has refused to comment.

Five others arrested in the case were recruited by Kobayashi from the campus of the Shiritsu University. “This is a lucrative job in which you’ll earn at least 10,000 yen a day,” the suspect is alleged to have said in recruiting applicants, reported the Sankei (Jan. 31).

In one instance described by police in announcing the re-arrests of the four suspects, a caller impersonating the eldest son of a 70-year-old woman in Taito Ward said he had lost a bag containing a check on a train and needed money. She was reportedly defrauded of five million yen by the group.

Investigators are now attempting to determine if the illegally obtained funds were funneled to gang coffers.