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Tokyo cops: Woman attempted to gain trust of defrauded investors early in scam

Harumi Mochizuki
Tokyo police have accused Harumi Mochizuki in the swindling of 23 million yen from a man in Saitama Prefecture

TOKYO (TR) – Investigative sources with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police have revealed that the former wife of the mayor of Yamanashi City and her associate, both of whom are suspected in the swindling of multiple investors, attempted to gain trust of victims in the initial stages of carrying out the scam, reports TBS News (June 8).

According to the sources, Harumi Mochizuki, 61, and Minetsugu Koshizuka, a 63-year-old former doctor from Gunma Prefecture, paid a dividend to the man, aged in his 60s and living in Saitama Prefecture, on his investment after the first month. The payment was part of a plan to reassure the victim about the security of his investment, the sources said.

“After that, they played dumb,” said another male victim, who says he was defrauded out of 42 million yen.

Mochizuki, who was sent to prosecutors on Thursday, allegedly defrauded the man out of 23 million yen by falsely promising to pay out dividends on invested capital.

Mochizuki and Koshizuka, who has been arrested twice in the case, have declined to comment on the allegations.

Manufactured gravestones

Mochizuki is the president of company Sashide Sekizai. According to credit records, Sashide Sekizai was founded in 1999 as a company that manufactured gravestones and performed work at cemeteries. As of 2016, it had accumulated debts of 580 million yen.

Mochizuki targeted acquaintances in the scam. In many cases, her status as the then wife of the mayor of Yamanashi was used to convince potential victims to invest funds, according to NHK (June 6).

According to the Asahi Shimbun (June 6), the victim in Saitama filed a criminal complaint against Koshizuka claiming that 240 million yen of an investment totaling 400 million yen had not been returned.

In December, the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court ordered Harumi Mochizuki to pay compensation of 42.2 million yen to five plaintiffs, including a man in Tokyo, who sued the suspect over a similar fraud, according to Jiji Press (June 6). The plaintiffs had sought compensation of 230 million yen.

“I have no idea what is going on”

Seiki Mochizuki, the husband of Harumi, was once the director of Sashide Sekizai. After being elected to the prefectural assembly, he passed the company’s presidency to Harumi, his then wife. He was first elected mayor of Yamanashi in 2014. The couple divorced this past February.

The mayor was met by a press corps in front of his residence on Tuesday. “I have no idea what is going on,” he said. “I am not involved.” About the arrest of his former wife, he said, “I am currently checking the facts.”