crime

Former idol singer arrested on fraud charges; police say she found victims through dating apps

29 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Show business is a young person’s game, and that goes double for being an idol singer, where most performers end up retiring before they hit their mid-20s. Take, for example, Juna Yamada. Yamada joined SKE48, the Nagoya-based sister group of Japan’s top idol unit AKB48, in 2013, and she “graduated” from the group in 2019, still a few months shy of her 21st birthday.

At that age, Yamada obviously wasn’t going to be retiring from working life entirely, and her age wasn’t going to be a major problem in terms of starting a career in an entirely different field. Unfortunately, according to the Aichi Prefectural Police, the field she chose to go into was fraud.

▼ Juna Yamada, in her SKE48 days, posing in a way that oddly resembles a mugshot

Screen Shot 2021-03-17 at 11.16.21.png

At some point in time, Yamada made the acquaintance of Hiromu Kurumadachi, the owner of a Nagoya consulting company called THE (each letter, T, H, and E, is pronounced separately). Together they formed a plan in which Yamada would register profiles on dating apps and lure in young, gullible men, not just through her looks and charms, but by also claiming to be an investment expert earning 10 million yen a year through her skillful prediction of currency exchange rate fluctuations and manipulation of binary options. Yamada would then meet up with the men, investigators say, and with coaching from Kurumadachi give them a sales pitch about her “investment logic that guarantees you’ll make a profit,” along with some perfunctory financial mumbo jumbo, then ask them to pay her for her advice.

Aichi Prefectural Police believe these actions constitute criminal misrepresentation and fraud, and on March 16 they arrested Yamada, Kurumadachi (who they describe as the ringleader), and two other accomplices. Kurumadachi denies all of the charges, while Yamada’s current stance is denial of only fraudulent intent, apparently admitting that she did misrepresent herself.

The arrests stem specifically from a Jan 31, 2020 incident when Yamada met with a man she’d met through a dating app at a hotel lounge in Nagoya and collected 500,000 yen from him for financial advice. In total, though, investigators believe that she and the 24-year-old Kurumadachi defrauded over 100 men Yamada made contact with out of a total of roughly 58 million yen.

Sources: Yahoo! Japan News/CBC TV via Jin, Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun Digital

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- “But she looked 13!” is no excuse in the eyes of the Japanese law, 40-something man learns

-- Heroic Japanese convenience store owner saves foreigner from online scam artist

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments

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This young lady is guilty of all charges and should be punished for preying on weak minded men.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

...*during her formative years as an idol... *

6 ( +7 / -1 )

P. SmithToday  07:41 am JST

This young lady is guilty of all charges and should be punished for preying on weak minded men.

Until she's either admitted to the charges without being under duress, or been tried in court and proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt based on the evidence, how can you claim what you did?

I'm not defending Yamada's behavior one way or the other, but innocent until proven guilty and all that..., right?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

by also claiming to be an investment expert earning 10 million yen a year through her skillful prediction of currency exchange rate fluctuations and manipulation of binary options. Yamada would then meet up with the men, investigators say, and with coaching from Kurumadachi give them a sales pitch about her “investment logic that guarantees you’ll make a profit,” along with some perfunctory financial mumbo jumbo, then ask them to pay her for her advice.

wait, that's exactly what my friends working in finance consulting are doing...

financial mumbo jumbo, a fat fee, if something turns out to be as predicted bingo, if not, that's the market

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fraud as an idol = arrest. Corruption and bribery as a government official = "I wasn't aware this is illegal" and everything is fine. Despite both being completely the same.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

A fool and his money.......

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Do the hustleToday 10:46 am JST

A fool and his money.......

were lucky to get together in the first place (Gordon Gekko, Wall Street)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There's something missing in that photo. Some numbers should be in the background, like 1.4m 1.5m 1.6m 1.7m

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Pukey: Best comment on this thread by far.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Together they formed a plan in which Yamada would register profiles on dating apps and lure in young, gullible men, not just through her looks and charms, but by also claiming to be an investment expert earning 10 million yen a year through her skillful prediction of currency exchange rate fluctuations and manipulation of binary options.

I want my money back!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@P. Smith

others can just as easily dig

I did a bit a digging, like past article about arrests :

There were article about murder in family, fraud, arson, murder, robbery, ... with their fair share of non-respect of innocent until proven guilty but you were nowhere to be seen. The only place I could find you are in article involving sex/dating :

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/man-suspected-of-sexually-molesting-women-walking-home-on-at-least-15-occasions

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/43-year-old-female-company-exec-arrested-over-indecent-behavior-with-17-year-old-boy

So innocent until proven guilty seems only for alleged sex offender. And need to dig about the alleged victim came only in case alleged sex victim. Thought, there seems to have difference in the pattern depending if the alleged offender/victim are man/boy or woman/girl.

Yes, digging is interesting.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There were article about murder in family, fraud, arson, murder, robbery, ... with their fair share of non-respect of innocent until proven guilty but you were nowhere to be seen. The only place I could find you are in article involving sex/dating :

Look at the dates and the types of articles since I decided to start calling out people for tossing the presumption of innocence.

So innocent until proven guilty seems only for alleged sex offender. 

Yes, seems because those are the articles that have popped up since I decided to start pointing out that people were jumping to conclusions based on limited information.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well, there are a lot of stupid people out there, and a lot of immoral people as well. Better wake up before you get got!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A fool and his money.......

Before I give money to beggars, I always check the state of their fingernails and teeth.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

What if this woman only wanted to give advice, but her advice wasn't good so the men got angry and decided to call the police on her? How do we know that the police didn't beat the confession out of her? Has anyone considered that the man she worked for hired her for a job she wasn't qualified for, and all she was doing was trying to make a living? Is is possible these men thought they could have sex with her, and when they realized they couldn't, they got mad and called the police?

See, the problem with "just asking questions" is that you can make a person look either guilty or innocent depending on what spin you put on the questions. It's dishonest.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Was it really even fraud? Have you guys ever met with any "investment advisors" or "certified financial consultants"? Their advice is probably just as costly, and your money vanishes the same way - in commissions and fees. Nor are they much to look at, on the whole.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, there are a lot of stupid people out there, and a lot of immoral people as well. Better wake up before you get got!

That’s correct

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Original Wing Today 01:07 pm JST

"Take the victim seriously" and "investigate" I can get behind and support. But "believe"? Doesn't "believe" create bias for the "investigate" part? I don't want the police/authorities to believe anyone. Their job is to find the truth as best as they can - belief shouldn't factor into it.

When I say "believe" what I mean is "take the claim at face value," and "investigate" and "find evidence to back up the claim."

But as you well know, if the police don't believe a claim initially then they don't even start a formal investigation.

The police are trained to recognize falsities, notice holes in stories, and probe for the truth. If a claim is not immediately dismissed by the police due to finding some fault with it, and the case proceeds to a formal investigation, and finally an arrest, then it is fair to use the word "believe" even in the sense of "has evidence" because the police don't make arrests without evidence.

This means that when a story says that a person has been arrested, e.g., and on March 16 they arrested Yamada, we can be certain that a) the police believed the men who reported her: b) investigated; c) found clear evidence; which lead to e) her arrest.

This is particularly the case in Japan, where police do not arrest suspects until they are quite sure they can win the case - which is why there is a 98% conviction rate.

But this goes doubly for cases involving sexual assault. It is notoriously difficult to prosecute such cases, as it often comes down to "he said, she said", as quite often the two involved are the only witnesses. This means the police only make an arrest IF they find the victim's story credible, IF they find the victim to be reliable, and IF they find the assailent less credible; and IF there is other evidence, such as street cam surveillance or physical evidence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Was this picture taken in the royal palace ??

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The thing about Japanese justice system is that all the guys of that group, including the ring leader will be getting off with minimal to no punishment. I bet 99% of the punishment will be placed on the girl. Likely a 5+ year prison sentence.

The idol/model groups are generally horrible places, guiding girls as young as 13 to membership-only kousai clubs, etc. and placing the girls under huge debt with questionable contract clauses. Many end up without sufficient money to even feed themselves.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This means that when a story says that a person has been arrested, e.g., and on March 16 they arrested Yamada, we can be certain that a) the police believed the men who reported her: b) investigated; c) found clear evidence; which lead to e) her arrest.

This is incorrect. The police don’t have to find “clear” evidence to arrest; they have to have probable cause, which means there is reasonable evidence to believe a crime has been committed.

This is particularly the case in Japan, where police do not arrest suspects until they are quite sure they can win the case - which is why there is a 98% conviction rate.

No, it isn’t. Hostage justice is why the conviction rate in Japan is 99%.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How do we know that the police didn't beat the confession out of her?

We don’t.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The idol/model groups are generally horrible places, guiding girls as young as 13 to membership-only kousai clubs, etc. and placing the girls under huge debt with questionable contract clauses. Many end up without sufficient money to even feed themselves

And ad to that some will get into the Adult Film industry to pay off those debts and many will ruin their reputations, but some will get through it. Either way, not the thing or place you want to be at in life.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

These are desperate times, and the income gap is only increasing...what are people without decent opportunities to do? Bite their tongue and languish at dead end jobs doing unpaid overtime month after month, year after year? By definition only a small percentage will be admitted to the better universities etc.

Look for more fraud schemes from here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

should be punished for preying on weak minded men

Or perhaps she should be rewarded for giving those men a lesson that might strengthen their minds. (Fool me once, etc.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'll bet if the cops told her she was a leprechaun she would admit to that as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

claiming to be an investment expert on a dating app is suspicious. I suppose this was after meeting the guy, otherwise really suspicious. But some are naive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

God forbid these low iq "idols" actually had to get a real job rather than something related to their looks.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Most arrests occur during the commission of a crime. Otherwise a warrant must be issued by a judge who is independent of the investigation.

 Critics of the Japanese criminal justice system often use the term “hostage justice” to describe the Japanese system based on their claim that the Japanese system seeks to force confessions out of suspects or defendants by detaining them for an extended period of time and by refusing to easily grant bail as long as they deny allegations or remain silent.

 To the contrary, the Japanese criminal justice system does not force confessions by unduly holding suspects and defendants in custody. It is therefore not accurate at all to criticize the Japanese system of being a “hostage justice” system. In Japan, there are strict requirements and procedures stipulated in law with regard to holding suspects and defendants in custody, with due consideration given to the guarantee of human rights.

 To be more specific, under Japanese criminal law, the detention of suspects is subject to examination by judges independent from the investigative authority, and such detention may only be approved when there is probable cause to suspect that the person has committed a crime, and that there is a risk of a suspect concealing or destroying evidence of crime or fleeing from justice. Suspects may appeal against the decision by the judge to detain them.

 It is the same with the detention of indicted persons. Indicted persons may be granted bail by a court (a judge) unless exceptional circumstances apply, such as the existence of a risk of concealing or destroying evidence of crime.

 The decisions by the court (or judge) on detention or bail of suspects and indicted persons are made in accordance with the legal provisions stipulated in the Code of Criminal Procedure, taking into account the specific facts and circumstances of each case, thereby preventing unnecessary detention in practice.

 The Japanese criminal justice system does not force confessions by unduly holding suspects and defendants in custody, so it is not accurate at all to accuse the Japanese system of being a “hostage justice” system.

The maximum period of holding suspects in custody after their arrest until the decision on whether or not to indict them is 23 days in any single crime, regardless of the complexity or seriousness of the crime, or the necessity for extensive investigation.

 Moreover, suspects may appeal the decision by the judge to detain them or extend the period of detention.

 Similarly, the detention of an indicted person is granted only if a court (judge) finds a risk of concealing or destroying evidence of crime, or fleeing from justice. Bail may be granted by a court (judge) unless exceptional circumstances apply, such as the existence of a risk of concealing or destroying evidence by the indicted.

 In short, suspects and defendants will be held in custody only for a necessary and reasonable duration under Japanese criminal proceedings.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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