Former accountant ordered to repay Aomori 1.45 billion yen

Kyodo

The Aomori District Court on Tuesday ordered the former accountant of a housing corporation in Aomori Prefecture to pay back 1.454 billion yen to the corporation.

Yuji Chida, a 45-year-old former employee of the Aomori Prefectural Housing Supply Public Corp., has admitted embezzling 1.459 billion yen, saying he had felt compelled to remit money to his Chilean wife, Anita Alvarado.

Chida is believed to have given about 1.1 billion yen of the total to Alvarado.

Chida has returned about 5 million yen to his employer, but with his assets limited to his house — valued at less than 20 million yen — in Aomori, immediate repayment in full is practically impossible.

The court’s ruling is little more than an acknowledgment of the corporation’s right to demand repayment.

Tuesday’s ruling was handed down with no lawyers from either side present.

According to the indictment, Chida, who was arrested in Tokyo in December, allegedly made 186 withdrawals from the bank account of a company director between February 1993 and October 2001, eventually pocketing about 1.46 billion yen.

The housing corporation has been trying to collect the money diverted to Chida’s 29-year-old wife, who lives in Chile. It has confirmed that around 73.6 million yen was returned after her Chilean house was auctioned off.

Due to lawyers’ fees and other expenses, however, this sum will be whittled down to some 24 million yen, corporation officials said.

In a separate criminal trial procedure in September, prosecutors demanded a 15-year sentence for Chida.

They stated that as the amount embezzled is equivalent to more than 300 times the average annual income of an Aomori resident, his conduct had a pervasive social impact and he should bear criminal responsibility for it.

The ruling is scheduled to be handed down Dec. 12.

Chida earlier confessed to having given most of the embezzled money to Alvarado and her relatives.

Alvarado maintains, however, that she had no idea the money had been obtained illegally.

After returning to Chile, Alvarado turned herself into a businesswoman operating two medical clinics and two restaurants, all of which are likely to be sold to pay her husband’s debts.