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Luxurious life of Tokyo hostess fueled ¥600 million swindle of rubber exec

Shukan Bunshun May 17
Shukan Bunshun May 17

On April 11, Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested Moritoshi Kurita, 33, a former executive at a rubber company for embezzling over 600 million yen from company accounts.

Numerous news outlets have reported that nearly the entire amount was delivered to a bar hostess who claimed to be suffering from a debilitating “sickness.”

None of the reports, however, offer as compelling a summary of events as that of weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun (May 17), which details a seven-year swindle in which Kana Yamamoto (her working name) enjoyed a lavish life centered upon her boyfriend, a fancy apartment, clothing purchases, Roppongi hosts, numerous pets, and helicopter rides — all via the gullibility of the company exec whose life just prior to his arrest had degenerated to an isolated existence contained in a one-room apartment in Saitama Prefecture.

Kurita, employed as a deputy manager in the accounting section at industrial rubber firm Shibata, first met Yamamoto in 2001, when she was in her early 20s and employed at a club located outside the North Exit of JR Kameari Station in Katsushika Ward. During 2002, the pair embarked on driving dates a couple of times each month. The following year she made her first request.

“Yamamoto pretended to be sick,” says a local news writer. “She claimed to be suffering from stomach cancer and ulcers, adding that a hospital stay would be needed. She requested help from Kurita in the form of money. He responded by sending her 300,000 yen. After that, the amounts escalated.”

Emails from Yamamoto — often using the pet name “Kuritan” to refer to Kurita — discussed ongoing treatments and requests for more money. Under the subject, “To my love, Kuritan,” she wrote. “Yesterday I received an invoice for last month. It was 850,000 yen. Last month, I also had an endoscope check and examination in the hygienic clean room — so that’s why it increased. I am very sorry. Don’t hate me. It is ok to split the amount in half. Please make a transfer by next week. I want to be with Kuritan as soon as possible♥ I want to have sex with you many times♥ Please enjoy your day. I love you.”

Eventually, Kurita asked to see hospital invoices, according to evening tabloid Yukan Fuji (April 30). However, the hostess shrewdly questioned his trust of her and mentioned suicide.

Yamamoto subsequently claimed to be further stricken with heart disease, spinal damage requiring surgery, and leukemia. Kurita, a graduate of a commercial trade high school in Katsushika and living with his mother, herself stricken by illness, and his brother, continued to make payments to Yamamoto until August 2010 — this in spite of the fact that he had not seen her personally for six years. She told him that the hospital would not allow visitors.

Kurita’s mother was aware of his son’s fondness for Yamamoto. A neighbor in his home town, which is not named, tells Shukan Bunshun that his mother mentioned her son meeting a special woman at a computer school.

The beginning of the end was a visit to the rubber company by the Tokyo Taxation Bureau on August 3, 2010. A three-day inspection uncovered Kurita’s alleged embezzlement.

“I am sorry,” Kurita wrote in an email to Yamamoto on August 4. “I stole my company’s money and used used it for your medical care. It is not your fault. I am very sorry.”

“Is that right?!” she responded 22 minutes later. “Is there going to be a problem? I paid the hospital bills for this month. But since you do not have any money I should probably return it to you.”

“I am in the office now,” he wrote. “I’ll go to the police tomorrow. I cannot cause any more trouble here at the office.”

“You will be asked the purpose of the transfers,” the hostess responded, “and your mother will be shocked. Your future is finished. Is there any other way than going to the police?”

When he didn’t respond, she wrote later, “Will I be arrested?”

Before visiting the police, Kurita asked to see her for just a short time. She refused, saying that since she had leukemia no visitors are allowed at the hospital.

“Do I have to sell my body?” Yamamoto wrote in a message dated August 6. Five days later, she asked for more money, indicating a major payment was due on August 13. “If you want to meet me, you can come on August 15. This will be the last time that I need money. Is it possible to send 13 million yen?”

Accompanied by his supervisor, Kurita went to the Tsukuba University Hospital in Ibaraki Prefecture, where Yamamoto was supposedly undergoing inpatient care. Kurita soon discovered that no record of her existed. On August 23, he received a final message. “Kuritan, I am sorry for the trouble. I am really sorry.”

All told, Kurita allegedly transferred 594 million through 350 transactions to Yamamoto. The former executive is also said to have pocketed another 40 million for his own investments.

In February of the next year, Kurita sued Yamamoto in civil court, during which time she claimed to be confused, and maintained she did not mean to cheat him.

“She spent the 600 million yen,” says the previously quoted local news writer. “It is impossible for it to be returned. So the civil proceedings were halted. After that, Shibata (the rubber company) filed criminal charges with the police against Kurita. Authorities, however, found it difficult to pin a crime on Yamamoto. She does, however, have a tax problem.”

When reached by phone by Shukan Bunshun’s writer for comment, Yamamoto offered a conflicting account about whether she was questioned by the police.

The journalist made inquiries within Yamamoto’s hometown. During most of the time that she strung Kurita along, Yamamoto was in fact married. Soon after graduation from high school, she tied the knot and left her parents home. She divorced three years ago.

A neighbor explains that her father is a retired police officer. The home of Yamamoto’s parents was constructed in 1996. The loan was paid off in full in June of last year. It is suspected that funds from Kurita helped in that regard.

Yet for the vast majority of the money, the Shukan Bunshun’s writer refers to Yamamoto’s account on social-networking site Mixi, in which she detailed her life of luxury throughout 2010. In July, when she claimed to be a leukemia patient, she was living in an apartment (with an estimated rent of approximately 250,000 yen) in a high-rise in Nishi Shinjuku with her boyfriend, a nightclub host five years her senior and nine chihuahuas.

Various entries revealed that the couple celebrated their anniversary each month and new releases by high-end fashion brands Louis Vuitton and Chanel were routinely greeted with purchases. Excursions were not unusual, with four-day trips to Mie Prefecture, chartered helicopter rides, French dinner cruises, and stays on the top floor of an Odaiba hotel being popular choices.

Yamamoto introduced her host club boyfriend to her parents on May 7 at their home. He was said to be a bit nervous since they had not seriously discussed marriage previously. For her entry on August 3, the day when tax inspectors arrived to go through Shibata’s books, he is described as a potential marriage partner. On August 14, four days after requesting a “last” funding payment of 13 million yen from Kurita, she wrote of staying on the 30th floor of an Odaiba hotel, where she dined and watched the Tokyo Bay Fireworks show.

After a brief lapse in output, ostensibly due to the discovery by Kurita at the hospital, Yamamoto informed her readers that she has been suffering from domestic violence.

Kurita, who had originally joined Shibata in 1997, was fired on October 15. As of his arrest in April of this year, he is accused of utilizing his office computer on 55 occasions between April 2009 and July 2010 to transfer 230 million yen to his personal account. Prosecutors are now attempting to navigate statute of limitations regulations to build a case for the remaining sum of money.

After his dismissal, the former manager moved by himself to a decrepit, one-room apartment in Asaka City, Saitama Prefecture that he rented for 30,000 yen. He worked in the area as a temporary staff employee.

An employee at a cleaning shop near his apartment tells Shukan Bunshun that Kurita always looked glum, never raising his eyes, when he appeared on the premises. On March 21 of this year, he dropped off four Uniqlo shirts. However, he never came back to pick them up.

Finally, says the tabloid, his arrest a few weeks later ended his long, long nightmare.

Source: “6oku en ga seta kyabajo no chichioya ha keisatsukan datta!” Shukan Bunshun (May 17, pages 156-158)