• Kyodo

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A former lawyer was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for stealing ¥122 million from people, including those with dementia, for whom he served as a guardian.

According to the ruling by the Tokyo District Court, Naoki Watanabe, 49, embezzled the funds from bank accounts he managed for three clients over four years through June 2015 and spent some of the money at nightclubs and for other entertainment.

Presiding Judge Masahiro Hieda said in handing down the ruling that the defendant “deserved strong criticism as his acts could compromise public trust in the guardianship system” introduced in 2000 to safeguard the assets of people unable to manage their own affairs, such as those with dementia.

Prosecutors had sought seven years in jail. Watanabe’s defense team admitted the charges but claimed he suffered from a mental disorder at the time, asking the court for a reduced sentence.

The court rejected the claim.

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