• Kyodo

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Five university students filed a criminal complaint Tuesday against four executives of a real estate agency in Kyoto, accusing the company of swindling them out of deposits on rooms they planned to rent.

The students filed the fraud complaint against the president, former president and first president of Rental House Service, along with a man believed to be the owner of the firm.

The company terminated its operations in Kyoto after accepting the deposits, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that the executives conspired to swindle the students out of deposit money totaling 2.6 million yen, paid in January and February, by accepting the cash despite knowing the company would close soon.

Citing insufficient cash flows, the company ceased operating on March 19. According to the complaint, the deposits were not paid to the targeted landlords beforehand, and thus the students were turned away when they went to collect their housing keys.

The students suspect the company deliberately closed down after collecting the deposit money, as it had set March 19 as a deadline for payment when the students agreed to rent the rooms.

According to the students’ lawyers, more than 300 students have been swindled in this manner by the company.

The Kyoto office of the Real Estate Guarantee Association of the All Japan Real Estate Federation said it has received complaints against the company involving unreturned deposits totaling more than 100 million yen.

The realtor distributed pamphlets inside campuses at times when students were signing up for classes.

The realtor was established in 1995 and had offices near colleges in the Kyoto area, including Kyoto University and Ritsumeikan University. The deposit furor erupted this year when the students went to collect their apartment keys from the landlords. The landlords refused, saying they had not received the deposit money.

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