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Tokyo: Sale of fake Prince George coins nets fraudsters ¥1 billion

Kazuo Kikuchi
Kazuo Kikuchi (Twitter)

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested five persons, including the former director of a Tokyo-based precious metals company, who are believed to have swindled hundreds of persons out of more than 1 billion yen over the sale of fake coins featuring Prince George, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Jan. 31).

Between March and July of 2014, Kazuo Kikuchi and four other persons allegedly sold more than 60 fake coins commemorating the birth of Prince George of Cambridge to three persons, including a man from Miyagi Prefecture, for 6.36 million yen.

Kikuchi, who has been accused of fraud, denies the allegations.

According to police, the suspects are believed to have peddled fake coins in swindling about 650 persons out of nearly 1.1 billion yen between November of 2013 and the following September.

The ruse was carried with the help of a second company that sought investors for rental storage containers. The company promised that returns to the investors would be through the rental fees, police said.

However, once the acquisition of rental fees declined, the second company indicated that it would buy back the stakes of the investors under the provision that they buy the commemorative coins. The company collected an additional 3 billion yen from around 800 investors, police said.

The company once headed by Kikuchi was formerly known as Gold Star. In August of 2015, the Consumer Affairs Agency ordered Gold Star to halt its business for a 12-month period for violating the Special Commercial Transactions Law.