• Kyodo


A woman under arrest in connection with her husband’s suicide has been served a fresh warrant for allegedly swindling a man out of ¥3 million by getting him to join a nonexistent scheme involving a major department store’s membership reserve fund service, police said.

Hiroko Morita, 51, of Saitama Prefecture, may have amassed a total of several hundred million yen from dozens of people by soliciting them to join the program supposedly offered by Tokyo-based Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd., for which her late husband had worked, police sources said.

Morita was served the additional warrant Monday for allegedly asking the man, a company owner in his 50s, to sign up for the nonexistent scheme and deposit ¥3 million between September 2012 and April 2014, saying the program would yield a gift certificate worth ¥40,000 every six months per ¥1 million deposit, the police said.

The woman denied the charge, saying she intended to return all the money she had received, according to the police.

Morita was initially arrested May 26 on suspicion of aiding her 55-year-old husband’s suicide on April 20 by buying charcoal that he burned inside a closed car to asphyxiate himself. At the time, the couple were living separately, the police said.

Under the genuine Isetan Mitsukoshi department store membership reserve fund service, a member deposits between ¥5,000 and ¥50,000 a month for one year to get a bonus equivalent to the monthly deposit that must be used for shopping at its group stores.

There is also a six-month plan where a customer deposits ¥5,000 a month and receives a bonus gift certificate worth ¥2,000.