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Yamaguchi town paid 46m JPY to one household instead of 463

thomas

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This case has been in the national news for weeks: the town of Abu in Yamaguchi Prefecture erroneously deposited 46.3 million JPY (USD 356,656) in COVID-19 financial aid into the account of one household instead of distributing JPY 100,000 to 463 households. The account holder started withdrawing the funds on the day of the remittance and kept transferring them to other bank accounts for electronic card payments and other purposes. Almost all the money disappeared from his account within about two weeks. He refused to return the funds but stated he would "atone for his mistakes". Yesterday, the town filed a lawsuit against the 24-year old man. What a comedy. 🙄

Officials filed the lawsuit for restitution later that same day with the Hagi Branch of the Yamaguchi District Court, demanding payment of about 51.16 million yen, including legal fees. Town officials said the man had moved there from another part of the prefecture in October 2020. He lived alone in Abu while working at a store in the prefecture, although the man recently resigned from his job. Officials said his whereabouts are currently unknown and they have been unable to contact him. The central government has provided the temporary special cash benefit to households exempt from resident tax to help those struggling due to the economic hardships brought about by the pandemic. The payment itself, though, is made from municipalities. The financial foul-up occurred on April 8, when the town sent subsidy payments of 100,000 yen to 463 households. But it separately transferred 46.3 million yen to just one of those households accidentally.


 

Uncle Frank

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200.gif


Wonder if he has an escape plan?
 
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thomas

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🙄😳😠

Either he is abominably brainless or it's a ruse to hide the funds.

A man who was mistakenly sent 46.3 million yen ($358,140) in COVID-19 relief funds by his town said he had gambled the money away on overseas casino sites, his lawyer reported on May 17. The lawyer had said the previous day that the man has already spent all the money. [...] "He spent all (of the 46.3 million yen) by using his smartphone," his attorney said. The attorney added it would be difficult to return the funds and that the man's smartphone has already been voluntarily submitted to prefectural police. According to the attorney, the man is cooperating with police. He responded to the prefectural police's request to appear voluntarily to explain his circumstances in late April, and then again on May 10, after the town's banking blunder came to light. The man has reportedly agreed to continue to be questioned.

 
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thomas

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Yesterday, the guy was named and arrested on suspicion of computer fraud. Though he's willing to repay, his solicitor stated that it would be doubtful he will ever be able to raise the 51m JPY the city of Abu is seeking from him.

taguchi-shou.jpg



 

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Did he bury it all for his release? 🤔

It'd be pretty hard to spend that much money on big-ticket items without some red flags popping up... I can't even imagine that he could spend a 4th of the money partying it up, either. Where did it all go?
 
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thomas

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According to the morning news, there have been some new developments: 35m JPY have been returned by a "money collection company" in charge of concealing the funds on behalf of their client. It appears that he used several of these companies to hide the money. Had he gambled it away, he'd just been a negligent fool (and served some time, too), now he's a criminal.

He dispensed a total of around 46.33 million yen across 34 transactions, his legal representative said, with the majority going to three domestic payment processing agents. About 35.92 million yen was sent to a single firm over 27 transfers. The company with the highest concentration of funds then wired them back to the Abu town government, the source said. The town government refrained from commenting on the repayment due to its ongoing suit against Taguchi for around 51.15 million yen, which includes the mistakenly sent funds as well as expenses including legal fees.

 

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Maybe I missed it, but why isn't there more news about how in the world this money was redirected in the first place? I mean, is it just straight incompetence at the township level or was this some sort of arrangement between the guy and whomever at the township directed all of the funds his way? Seems like, if it was purely a management mistake, that this guy was able to very quickly figure out a way to hide the money. Its hard to believe that would happen without some planning, even if it does seem to be falling apart for him.

I don't know, maybe I am seeing a conspiracy where there is none but it just seems a bit suspicious.
 

mdchachi

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Maybe I missed it, but why isn't there more news about how in the world this money was redirected in the first place? I mean, is it just straight incompetence at the township level or was this some sort of arrangement between the guy and whomever at the township directed all of the funds his way? Seems like, if it was purely a management mistake, that this guy was able to very quickly figure out a way to hide the money. Its hard to believe that would happen without some planning, even if it does seem to be falling apart for him.

I don't know, maybe I am seeing a conspiracy where there is none but it just seems a bit suspicious.
It doesn't seem to be enough money to warrant a big conspiracy. So I believe the run-of-the-mill incompetence theory. Unless this "clerk" that did it turns out to be a comely twenty-something lady. Then it would be very suspicious indeed.
 

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Assuming it was just a mistake, I think they probably want to avoid the employee becoming a target of online bullying and ridicule. It's enough to say the town hall screwed up, rather than saying Hiroshi Watanabe of the Payments Department screwed up.

If its not "just a mistake" and there was collusion between this dude and the city (which I kind of doubt since the guy seems to have blown the money on online gambling), then they might withhold the name of the employee pending further investigation.
 

thomas

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Yes, it seems 90% of the funds were recovered:


The news also reported that this wasn't the first financial mishap of the Abu municipal government. Perhaps it's time to reorganise their financial administration.
 

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An update on Mr Taguchi: on 1 August, he was bailed out by Hikaru, a popular YouTuber in Japan, who gave him a haircut, some bento, and employment with QBT, a vendor of low-carb chicken and broccoli meals.



Hikaru is a self-made millionaire who started out in a factory, but after dealing with power harassment, quit and got into the sometimes dodgy business of joho shozai or "information products." This is where people sell a book or seminar with a promise of secrets to "earning millions a year" or "strengthening your memory in five days," but since they're secrets you can't know what they are until you pay up and — as often is the case — are disappointed when they don't work. Hikaru made a killing in information products, but had ethical problems with the work, so he quit that too. Instead, he took the money he accumulated, along with his natural resourcefulness, to YouTube, where he now uses his financial and creative powers for good, by exposing fraudulent businesses and creating interesting content. Perhaps Hikaru's own background is why he took a liking to Taguchi and saw him as a generally good person who just made some bad choices early in his life. In addition to bailing him out of jail, Hikaru also set him up with employment at one of his related businesses which allows him to work remotely, since he's not allowed to leave Yamaguchi. He will first be required to undergo training in computer skills and business etiquette and prove his reliability to the company before working there properly.




Mr Taguchi's Twitter account garnered almost 100k followers in just a few days. While criminal charges are still looming, this looks like a potentially happy ending.
 

thomas

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I'm also glad he got a second chance. However, I'd generally assume that a 24-year-old can grasp the consequences of his actions, even when overwhelmed by astronomical numbers in his passbook.
 
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