Nine people, employees and executives of a company that operated several online dating sites, were arrested on suspicion of defrauding a man of 1.36 million yen (approx. 14,400 US dollars). The Metropolitan Police Department’s Cyber Crimes Control Division said that among those arrested was Takahiro Yamanaka, the 34-year-old former president of the company known as “Wingnet.”
Officials from the division said that the company has around 11.6 billion yen (123 million dollars) credited to it in the bank from operating multiple online dating websites from 2010-2012. The investigators are still looking into how much of that money was gotten through fraudulent means and which of the 370,000 users in their database were also victimized by the company. An arrest warrant was also issued for the 40 year old current president of Wingnet, who is still at large.
The company is accused of defrauding a 40 year old office worker from Saitama Prefecture by making him register for a dating website. One of the arrested suspects masqueraded as the manager of the all-female J-pop group AKB48 and sent him an email which said, “I want you to listen to entertainers’ problems. I’ll give you my contact information.” The man, convinced he was corresponding with a legitimate contact to the band, continued to pay the fees for the site until it reached 1.36 million yen. When nothing came out of it, the man finally started to get suspicious and went to the authorities to complain.