Japanese Investigators Suspect $105m Forex Investment Scam

Masaaki Ito and his partner are alleged to have defrauded customers of over $100 million.

According to Japanese newspaper Japan Times, the local prosecutor office in Nagoya is looking for a court order to freeze the assets of two individuals accused of alleged fraud related to what appears to have been an investment scheme. According to the officials, the perpetrators are alleged to have defrauded investors to the tune of $104.9 million (¥11.7 billion).

Two individuals are the alleged perpetrators of the Japanese forex scheme. One of them is the 48 year-old manager of a company that organizes trading seminars, Masaaki Ito. He has a track record, having been accused seven times of embezzlement. At the time, 160 clients suffered damages to the tune of $17 million (¥1.9 billion).

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The new case reveals that the suspects allegedly scammed 3,000 retail investors of a total of $104.9 million (¥11.7 billion). The defrauded customers received assurance that the invested funds will be used in real trading with guaranteed monthly returns totaling 3 per cent of the invested capital. Mr Ito and his partner never engaged in any transactions with the funds that they accumulated from their investors.

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Japanese authorities managed to secure $2.42 million (¥270 million) from the amount mentioned above. Nearly $53 million (¥6 billion) had been used to refund contract cancellations, and prosecutors are yet to determine what happened to the remaining $50 million (¥5.56 billion).

If the prosecutor’s office secures any part of the remaining funds, which could still be in the possession of the suspects, the investigator will issue a warrant to freeze the assets prior to the date of the next hearing scheduled for May 2016. Should the alleged fraudsters be charged, the frozen assets funds will be distributed to the 3,000 victims of the investment scheme.

Investigators have confirmed the localization of some of the remaining funds in related bank deposits both in Japan and abroad. So far the prosecutors cannot confirm how much of this money is recoverable.

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