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A trail of deceit has produced fake 2014-15 contracts for several American basketball players for the Aomori Wat’s, The Japan Times learned during a one-month investigation of alleged fraudulent agents.

This was known first: The Wat’s, a second-year franchise that had a winning record and earned a playoff berth in their first season, posted an Aug. 1 news release, written in both English and Japanese, on the team’s website. It provided the first public notification about the problem. The headline appeared this way: “(WARNING) Important notification to overseas players.”

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