Seven people in Fukuoka Prefecture were arrested on Jan 15 on charges of fraud after raking in over $22 million from operating an online dating community populated almost entirely by fake members.
The site, called DEAiBBS, was started in 2005 and boasted a user base of nearly 120,000 lonely Japanese singles — roughly 80% of whom weren’t actually real.
Over 45 claims totaling 85,000,000 yen in damages had been filed against the site before the arrests, and the site is said to have made over 2 billion yen during its seven years of operation.
According to police reports, four of the men arrested were part-time staff employed solely to flirt with real members, enticing them to become paying members or renew their subscriptions.
Among the victims were a 30-year-old woman from Aichi Prefecture who spent nearly 20 million yen and a 70-year-old man from Kanagawa Prefecture who spent 10 million.
Source: Sponichi Annex, Merumo
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