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Chiba cops nab man in sale of currency via Mercari app

Keisukei Tanaka
Keisukei Tanaka

CHIBA (TR) – Chiba Prefectural Police have arrested a 33-year-old man for allegedly selling cash above face value using marketplace app Mercari and collecting interest exceeding the legal interest rate, reports TV Asahi (Nov. 17).

On 10 occasions between August 2, 2016 and July 9, Keisukei Tanaka, a resident of Narita City, allegedly sold 250,000 yen worth of currency for 312,900 yen to four male and female persons, including a 25-year-old woman in Fukushima Prefecture, and collected interest exceeding the legal rate.

Tanaka, who has been accused of violating the Investment Law, admits to the charges, according to police, who say the case is the Japan to involve the sale of cash online.

Know as the “flea market app,” Mercari launched in 2013. It has garnered popularity due to its simple procedures for executing transactions, compared to auction sites, in the sale of items such as clothing.

Under Mercari’s transaction system, buyers can pay with credit cards, which can be suitable for persons in need of cash quickly. The app has been downloaded more than 40 million times in Japan.

In April, the sale of currency on the platform was banned by the operator of Mercari. In the case of Tanaka, he concealed the posting of the cash for sale by presenting the bills as postage stamps, police said.

Prices above face value

Tanaka sold cash at prices above the face value of the bills to customers by registered mail after they paid him by credit card, police said.

Police believe the suspect sold 1 million yen and set an interest rate 4.6 to 6.4 times higher than the legal rate, netting him profits of some 230,000 yen over a three-year period through this past September.