Four men have been accused of defrauding the Japanese government in unemployment benefits worth around 115 million yen (over USD$1 million). But it seemed that the four were not acting on their own but have also enlisted the help of more than 500 laborers in a period of three and a half years to sustain the elaborate hoax.
Results of the initial investigation showed that the four accused, 52-year old truck driver Yukio Morikawa, 45-year old demolition worker Yoshfumi Miyaguchi and two others would park a car with a signboard advertising phony job offers in the Airin district in Nishinara Ward, Osaka. Those who approach them for the job would be interviewed and let in on the scam. Once in, the laborers would be given laborers’ employment insurance handbook, which would be stamped to make the sham more realistic. The stamps were obtained from authorities after showing supporting documents they illegally took from employment security offices in Nara and Kyoto. Once the laborers receive the unemployment subsidy from the government, the four were paid ¥20,000 to 30,000 as commissions. As day laborers are entitled to a subsidy of ¥7,500 a day should they fail to be employed after working for at least 26 days over a two-month period, one could receive up to ¥97,500 in unemployment benefits monthly.
It took years before the authorities found out about the scam. In 2010, officials from the Yamatokada employment security office visited the “office” of the fake Nakajima Construction. One of the officials became suspicious as paperwork in the office seemed to be less than what is expected of a contractor so he decided to call one of the listed contractors in a document and was surprised to find out when the one who answered said, it has enlisted the Nakajima Construction as their contractor. Police are still investigating the extent and actual number of laborers that were involved in the scam.
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