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Police raided Kinmirai Tsuushin Inc. on Monday to search for evidence that the firm touting itself as an Internet protocol telephone company had defrauded investors out of roughly 40 billion yen and was in fact a sham operation.

Police searched the company’s head office in Tokyo, President Masaru Ishii’s home in Kawasaki and several other places on suspicion Kinmirai failed to make good on unfounded dividend promises. At present, Ishii’s whereabouts is unknown.

According to lawyers for the investors, the company promised to pay generous dividends each month based on revenues from “communication fees” and had collected about 40 billion yen from roughly 3,000 investors.

Investors were told that the purchase of a telephony service relay station would earn them monthly dividends that would total close to 1 million yen a year, police and the lawyers said. The stations were priced at 11 million yen apiece.

In one case, Ishii and other executives of the company talked a man in his 30s in Gifu Prefecture into depositing more than 10 million yen between August and September, promising that if he became the owner of a relay station, the monthly dividends would be enough to pay off his investment within a few years.

But the company started falling behind on dividend payments in September and halted them altogether Nov. 20, when it appeared that the firm had shut down most of its nationwide operations and those of its subsidiaries.

All of the executives except Ishii have resigned, and employees say they cannot get in contact with Ishii.

When police raided his home, it was vacant. They had to use a locksmith to get in.

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