National / Crime & Legal

Tokyo man gets 11 years for bogus land sale to major home builder

Kyodo

A man was sentenced Wednesday to 11 years in prison over a 2017 fraudulent Tokyo land sale to a major Japanese home builder that caused it a loss of about ¥5.5 billion ($51 million).

Misao Kaminsukasu, 60, of the capital’s Minato Ward, was indicted on charges of conspiring with others to swindle Sekisui House Ltd. in a deal to sell a 2,000-square-meter plot of land in a top-rated location in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward between March and June in 2017.

Kaminsukasu had pleaded not guilty at the Tokyo District Court, while prosecutors had sought 14 years in prison. The land, located near Gotanda Station, was the site of a now-closed inn.

A total of 10 people were indicted over the scam and all the other nine have already been convicted in district court rulings.

In the scam, one of the 10, Masami Haketa, impersonated the female owner of the land by using a fake passport. The real owner had been hospitalized in February 2017 and died in June that year, according to police.

Kaminsukasu’s defense claimed the accused did not know Haketa was impersonating the landowner.

He was arrested in January last year after being detained in the Philippines, where he fled a few days before other members of the group were nabbed in October 2018.

The scam came to light after Sekisui House paid for the land and asked the Legal Affairs Bureau to change the plot’s ownership registration. The application was rejected when documents provided by the group were found to have been falsified.

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