National / Crime & Legal

Woman indicted over department store fund scam

Kyodo

A Saitama woman has been indicted for swindling a man out of ¥3 million by getting him to join a nonexistent fund scheme for the Isetan Mitsukoshi department store chain.

Hiroko Morita, 51, got the man to sign up by saying he would receive a ¥40,000 gift certificate every six months for each ¥1 million he deposited between 2012 and 2014, the prosecutors said Monday.

Investigators suspect Morita, a former employee of Isetan, collected a total of around ¥500 million at least 40 people via similar tactics, they said.

According to the police, Morita used most of the insurance money she received after her husband committed suicide to repay members of the nonexistent membership scheme.

She was 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 car to asphyxiate himself. They were living separately at the time.

The police suspect she needed money to keep the bogus fund scheme going.

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