A former head of a post office in Nagasaki Prefecture may have swindled more than 50 people out of over ¥1 billion, Japan Post Co. said Tuesday.

The man, who is in his 60s, had fraudulently collected money from November 1996, or possibly earlier, to January 2021 by telling customers that the payments were for deposits or insurance premiums, according to an in-house probe by the company.

"We sincerely apologize for causing so much trouble to those concerned," said Kazuyuki Negishi, a Japan Post senior executive officer, at a news conference, adding that the company was looking into further details through an internal probe. Police have also launched an investigation, according to sources familiar with the matter.