The “2-Year Prison Sentence” for Sanma’s Brother
A victim of fraud said, "He will cheat people even in prison.
I am relieved that he was sentenced to prison this time. He showed signs of remorse, but I believe he will cheat people even in prison. I am convinced of it.”
This is how Ms. A, a victim of fraud perpetrated by Heimei Takahashi, 72, a former brother of Akashiya Sanma, described her experience in court on October 13, when Takahashi was sentenced to two years in prison.
Takahashi was arrested in May of this year on suspicion of defrauding acquaintances of a large sum of money by calling it “preparation money” for a nonexistent event. The trial was held at the Okazaki branch of the Nagoya District Court in August of this year, and the prosecution claimed that Takahashi had defrauded two acquaintances, A and B, of a total of more than 10 million yen since around 2007. The prosecution’s claim was fully accepted.
Takahashi used to perform under the stage name “Akashiya Koroku. In 1974, he became an apprentice to Matsunosuke Shofukutei, who was also Sanma’s teacher, and for a time they formed a comic duo called Akashiya Oroku and Sanma. The duo soon spontaneously dissolved, and Takahashi began to roll downhill from there.’ In 1993, he was also arrested on fraud charges for cheating several acquaintances out of money.
Immediately after hearing the verdict, Takahashi nodded his head and his wife wept quietly. A, a victim who has been following the trial since his arrest last year, said, “Takahashi was given nearly 10 million yen.
Takahashi swindled me out of nearly 10 million yen, and my life has become a mess. I think I have come to a settlement now that Takahashi has been sentenced without a stay of execution. However, I am concerned that Takahashi himself was trying to clear his debts by filing for bankruptcy until the very end. Even though he filed for bankruptcy last December and it was not approved, the atmosphere was that he had not given up. Takahashi even had a lawyer say, ‘The money has to be returned to the victim, do you understand?’ He seemed to have no sense of reality, or rather, he seemed to think he could get by without returning the COPY00 money.”
As for the money he cheated his victims out of, Takahashi, who is 73 years old this year, said, “I would like to pay it back little by little when I return to society. Ms. A wonders if he will be able to fulfill his “redemption of old age.