• Kyodo


Osaka police arrested a 54-year-old woman Friday on suspicion of illegally collecting up to ¥1.5 billion from individuals to invest in stocks.

Investigators also searched the home of the woman, identified as Tomoko Iwata, in Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture.

The police alleged that Iwata collected about ¥16 million from three people between last February and October in violation of the investment law, which bans any party, except authorized dealers, from receiving capital subscriptions or deposits as a business.

Iwata, who had not been seen since Jan. 26, showed up Friday and was present as the police searched her home.

A lawyer representing the alleged victims said Iwata traded stocks using a personal computer at her home and would guarantee the principal and promise high returns.

The lawyer said Iwata first solicited investment money from residents near her home more than a decade ago and increased her list of clients by promising a 2 percent rebate to existing investors if they introduced a new customer.

According to the lawyer, she collected more than ¥1.5 billion from at least 100 people, mainly in Kyoto, Osaka and Nara prefectures. Some people gave her as much as ¥100 million to invest.

But Iwata apparently fell behind on dividend payments, so people who gave her money alerted police Tuesday. The law sets penalties of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to ¥3 million, or both, for taking investment money without authorization.

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