Japan Arrested People Falsely Subsidized $360,000

Japanese police have arrested a young man who was falsely backed with $360,000 after he said he spent all the money on online casinos.

A 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of violating the Computer Fraud Law, which involves using computers, the Internet, Internet devices and Internet services to deceive individuals or organizations, a police department in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, said today.

The man told police that he mistakenly spent all his aid money on online casinos. Authorities suspect this young man transferred some of the money to another account to hide it, although it is known to be a bogus allowance.

Abu City Mayor Norihiko Hanada told reporters the arrest was a “step toward truth.” “I don’t think he spent any of the money at all. I think there might be money left somewhere,” he said, adding that his subordinates were exhausted from angry calls and emails from the public.

Mayor Norihiko Hanada (left) and Deputy Mayor Takao Nakano bow during a press conference in Abu city, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on April 22. Photo: Yahoo News.

City Mayor Abu Norihiko Hanada (left) and Deputy Mayor Takao Nakano bow during a press conference on April 22. Image: Yahoo News.

The Abu government said last month it mistakenly transferred 46.3 million yen ($360,000) in Covid-19 benefits, 463 times the normal level. The Mayor of Hanada said on April 22 that the account holder refused to refund the money because it had been used up.

The authorities called, sent letters, went to the house to persuade, even asked the young man’s mother to advise him to return the money, but to no avail. Abu authorities filed a lawsuit against the young man last week to get the money back.

The young man expressed regret on May 18 for spending all the money and promised to refund it “incrementally.” However, local authorities have no intention of dropping the lawsuit against him.

The Japanese government has rolled out many support packages for people and businesses struggling due to Covid-19 since last year, including a policy of giving each household 100,000 yen tax-free. These subsidies are part of a plan to ensure Japan’s economic recovery from the pandemic as prices soar.

Huyen Le (Corresponding AFP)