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Telephone fraudsters' ill-gotten gains don't last long

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"Look at me now -- starting a job that pays just 150,000 yen a month!"

Seated on a park bench, 33-year-old Shinji Tanimoto (a pseudonym) rues his past career as an "It's me, send money" swindler. Through an old friend's introduction, he'd joined a group of confidence men working out of Kyushu. Within six months, he tells Spa! (May 25), he was overseeing three groups and personally raking in 5 million yen a month.

After two years, however, the job took its toll and through a sense of guilt and nihilism, Tanimoto decided to call it quits.

"By then I'd saved 100 million yen," he says. "I was looking around for something to invest it in, and this guy suggested I go tie up with him in a tuna farming venture in China. I even went there with him to take a look-see and was told that with the coming boom in Japanese food in China, it would be sure to take off. I sank in 50 million yen.

"As it turned out, the local authorities wouldn't issue us a permit. They held out for bribes. So I sank in another 10 million yen. Then the local land prices began soaring, and I invested another 20 million. Right after that, the guy vanished. It seems he'd been running flimflams like that for years. I couldn't file a complaint to the police because they'd ask about the source of my capital."

Ex-millionaire Tanimoto now lives with his mother. To put an end to her nagging, he says next week he'll be going for an interview as a part-time janitor he found advertised in a job recruitment magazine.

For 41-year-old ex-con Kotaro Nishijima (also a pseudonym), the days of glory are long past. He currently earns 300,000 yen a month behind the wheel of a minivan, transporting young women employed by a delivery health (outcall sex service) to and from assignations at love hotels.

At one time, Nishijima lorded over a group of 80 fraudsters who, in a good month, bilked naïve victims out of as much as 700 million yen.

"The home, car and all the big items I bought with the money were used against me as evidence," he rues. "When you're at the point where you can afford to buy anything, suddenly material items don't seem to matter any more."

Nishijima let the good times roll, hopping from one cabaret club to the next -- as many as 20 in one evening -- sometimes dropping 6 million yen a night.

This flamboyant lifestyle, however, soon caught the eye of thieves.

"One night a bunch of guys ganged up on me in my house," he relates. "When I came to, a cash box with 200 million yen that I'd concealed under the floor was gone. Naturally I didn't dare report the robbery to the cops."

After serving a two-year prison sentence, Nishijima moved into a single-room apartment the size of six tatami mats. The most he can afford these days are drinks in cheap izakaya two or three nights a month.

"The take from swindling can't buy the trust or reputation needed to make it in legitimate businesses, so at best, the funds are used as 'seed money,'" says Spa's confidential source, a Mr T, who tells the magazine that the most common spin-off businesses from the illicit gains include property investments, moneylending, used-car dealerships, bars and "pink" businesses, underground casinos and agencies that dispatch performers in adult videos.

One con artist used his ill-gotten gains to return to his home town and start a business buying and reimporting old Japanese cars from Southeast Asia.

"They looked like junk, but he'd recondition them and sell them to classic car collectors at premium prices," says T.

Most swindlers, however, display scant business acumen. T supposes fewer than 20% of the firms they establish ever prove successful.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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So a bunch of sub-humans get their just desserts? My heart bleeds for them ...

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After two years [...] Tanimoto decided to call it quits. “By then I’d saved 100 million yen,” he says.

Seems a lucrative job.

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the first guy is so funny - I the conman gets conned!!! :-)

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Well they're not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier to begin with. Does your heart good to read about it!

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Good idea - swindle the swindlers

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I guess they have to say they lost it somehow, because if they say "I still have the money", they will torture them until they say where it is.

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This article is surprisingly thoughtful for a Spa article. Thieves that carefully save money are rare precisely because those kind of people rarely need to steal. It's people who value money above morals. And in kind, if they happen upon money they waste it, flash it around, and attract the attention of people just like them.

You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of people who want to be their friend. And it goes without saying that if you didn't earn your money, you're not going to take good care of it either.

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"He currently earns 300,000 yen a month behind the wheel of a minivan, transporting young women employed by a delivery health (outcall sex service) to and from assignations at love hotels."

Are they still hiring!?! Out in the country, some ppl go to university for 6 years for the chance to earn that kind of money. Add to that tuition loans.

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I can't feel sorry for these guys.

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For 41-year-old ex-con Kotaro Nishijima (also a pseudonym), the days of glory are long past. He currently earns 300,000 yen a month behind the wheel of a minivan, transporting young women employed by a delivery health (outcall sex service) to and from assignations at love hotels.

Oh wow. That's... less bad I guess? Sleazy, but not illegal.

Either way, can't feel sorry for either of these chumps.

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Shockingly a skill set in scamming people out of money does not translate into solid business acumen...

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"He currently earns 300,000 yen a month behind the wheel of a minivan...," yet "the most he can afford these days are drinks in cheap izakaya two or three nights a month!" Some expensive drinks!

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I think the whole story is fiction.

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I feel sorry for these guys and the real estate agents that blew it all in the bubble years back! Why might you ask? Because they took me out all the time to the best places and I did not have to pay squat. They wanted a gaijin buddy, because money can buy you everything. heehee

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Karma is a beautiful thing :)

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dreamland, some people have a PhD, work as assistant prof at a top university long hours 6 days a week and still don't make much more than that...

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Bollocks. The article only focuses on the losers. I bet quite a few ore-ore dudes walked off fully wedged up and have started legit businesses. Like they always say, the first million is the hardest. Good luck to them.

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Damo are you auditioning for Captain Obvious? This is Spa we're talking about, of course they're focusing on a few individual cases. It's like saying People magazine only focuses on famous people. - Captain Obvious

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In this world you need to do something bad to get ahead of the game. It's what you do after you get ahead that proves if you are really smart or not.

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Shockingly a skill set in scamming people out of money does not translate into solid business acumen...

not so sure about that

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"He/she who lives by the sword will die by the sword", "If you play you pay", "What goes around comes around". Just simple logic.

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