31 Arrested in Japan’s Biggest Real Estate Swindle Case
TOKYO (AP) _ Police arrested 31 people and put five others on the most-wanted list Friday in Japan’s biggest real estate swindle, cheating banks and real estate agents out of $722 million.
Metropolitan police officials said the swindlers forged land registration certificates and legal documents registering personal seals, which are used as proof of identity in business transactions.
They used the forged documents to make illegal real estate deals or acquire bank loans on at least 40 pieces of land without the knowledge of the real owners during 1984 and 1985, said police, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The police said the group illegally obtained about $500 million worth of credits and about $222 million in cash.
The parcels of land, located in 11 prefectures, were worth $837 million, said police.
The 31 people arrested were all low-ranking members of the gang, but the five on the wanted list, including Shotaro Kida, 57, and Nobuo Takaba, 37, are suspected of directing the operation and forging the documents, police said.
There are 24 other suspects at large, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. More than 120 people and institutions fell victim to the gang, they said.