National

'Ore, ore' ringleader gets 20 years

Kyodo News

The Tokyo District Court sentenced the accused mastermind of a massive “ore, ore” remittance scam to 20 years in prison Wednesday for violating the law against organized crime.

The court handed down the ruling to Masaki Toda, 31, for bilking elderly and other vulnerable people out of about ¥146 million between May 2006 and August 2007. Ore, ore (it’s me, it’s me) scams generally entail someone calling the target and, while speaking in familiar terms such as that of a family member or acquaintance, solicit money to get out of a jam.

Presiding Judge Yasunobu Hishita said Toda led an organization that “was highly and systematically organized” and “professionally” conducted repeated remittance scams and directed others in the ring to engage in similar criminal activity.

Hishita also said Toda bore a high degree of responsibility for the crimes compared with other members of his organization because he received 30 percent to 35 percent of the swindled money.

The indictment said 38 victims in 22 prefectures were involved in cases orchestrated by Toda.

In one case, a woman in Aichi in her 60s was tricked into transferring ¥4.8 million to a bank account in April 2007 after Toda conspired with an accomplice to pretend to be her son in phone conversations. He said he had crashed a luxury car owned by his company while driving drunk and would need the money to fix it.

The court has ordered Toda and his accomplices to pay about ¥170 million to 34 people in civil damages in lawsuits filed by about 100 victims.

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