Some people believe that criminals can’t help but return to the scene of their crimes, and you could argue that’s what Daigo Sugano did. However, much like with his first arrest, police are saying the 29-year-old resident of Ishikari in Hokkaido managed to pull off a multi-city caper without leaving the town he lives in.
Many retailers in Japan have loyalty programs that reward not only paying customers, but also anyone who visits their store for browsing. Granted, the non-paying visitor rewards are a pittance, at most a few yen of store credit when you check in through the store’s app or kiosk, but still, that’s a few yen’s worth of pure profit. In the case of interior and lifestyle brand Mujirushi (also known as Muji), each visit gets you one point, equivalent to one yen of credit.
According to the police, between April 12 and May 30 Sugano managed to accrue 5.62 million yen worth of Mujirushi points, which would correspond to an identical 5.62 million visits in about six weeks’ time. While some might argue that’s not mathematically impossible for an insanely determined person, investigators say Sugano racked up all those points by pretending to visit 909 Mujirushi branches across Japan, North America, and Europe, utilizing 300 false Mujirushi app accounts and an array of 45 computers in his Hokkaido home to manipulate GPS data.
▼ Used properly, the Muji Passport app can get you free curry. Used improperly, it can get you jail time.
And so for the second time in one month, Sugano has been arrested for computer fraud, since he’s the same guy who also pretended to make 2.7 million visits to Aeon shopping centers. Once again, it was officers from Kyushu, on the opposite side of the country from Hokkaido, once again doing the honors, presumably since some of the defrauded Mujirushi branches were located within their jurisdiction.
The police say that almost none of the credit Sugano acquired remains in his accounts, and are investigating how/where it was used. Considering that Sugano has no official employment but still managed to amass 45 computers in his home, there’s a distinct possibility that he was reselling the credit to third parties, or maybe he just really, really wanted some Mujirushi bean bag chairs, towels, and matcha chocolate-covered strawberries.
Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko, Mujirushi
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