Defendant Minegishi delivers an impassioned speech at a recruitment seminar for the “Everybody’s Egg Club.” He insisted that cooperation among members was necessary. “Even if he is convicted, he will do the same thing as soon as he finishes his sentence,” he said. If we don’t “eliminate” him from society, there will be more victims. …… 120 victims rose up and decided to file a class action lawsuit at the end of June.
Mr. A, a Hokuriku-area resident in his 70s, was gentle in his tone, but he dared to speak harshly.
The “man” is Shoji Minegishi, 59, aka Myoko Minegishi. On November 30, 2011, he was arrested by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department for violating the Ponzi scheme law and subsequently indicted.
At seminars held nationwide since October ’21, the defendant Minegishi said, “If you become a member of ‘Minna no Tamago Club’ and pay the membership fee of 13,900 yen by the 10th of every month, we will deliver 90 brand eggs a month. If you introduce a new member to us, we will pay you up to 240,000 yen per person per month.” The seminar collected approximately 300 million yen from over 10,000 people. However, a string of reports that neither the eggs nor the dividends had been sent led to the case.
According to the testimonies of several victims, Minegishi was once a subordinate of Kazuji Nami, the ringleader of the Enten Incident, who collected approximately 128.5 billion yen by issuing pseudo-currency. He later became involved in a Korean cosmetics pyramid scheme and later founded the “Everybody’s Egg Club” (hereinafter referred to as “Egg Club”), which is a well-known figure.
Many of the pyramid schemes and investment scams that have been exposed in recent years have been spread among young people who met through social networking services. However, the Egg Club is characterized by a method that “encroaches on the real relationships of middle-aged and older people. Many victims lament the damage to their relationships rather than the amount of money they have lost,” lamented the aforementioned Ms. A. “About a year ago, I was recommended by an acquaintance of mine.
About a year ago, an acquaintance recommended that I attend a seminar, where Minegishi explained that the Egg Club was a joint venture between major trading companies and food companies. I thought that would be okay, so after I joined the club myself, I recruited and enrolled four family members and relatives. I paid back the money to the four people out of my own pocket, but that was not the end of the story. Trust was lost and family relations are still strained. ……
Some people are still being cheated.
Ms. B, a woman in her 70s living alone in the Kinki region, was solicited by a woman of the same age whom she met through their shared hobby of Korean idols.
The monthly membership fee of 13,900 yen was affordable even for a pensioner like me, so I decided to join …….”
Mr. B, who had never been involved in such a scam before, fell prey to the egg club because of his unique situation of “loneliness caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
He said, “I should have talked to my son who lives in Tokyo, but at the time, the corona epidemic was going around, and I couldn’t make the opportunity to talk to him face to face. In the midst of such loneliness, I was eager to cherish the relationship with my new friend. The person who introduced me was also deceived, so I have no hard feelings toward him, but we no longer see each other face to face.”
Mr. Hirotaro Kato, an attorney representing the victims’ association, spoke about the significance of this class action lawsuit.
Even if Minegishi is convicted in a criminal trial for violating the Anti-Money Laundering Act, it is highly unlikely that he will be immediately reimbursed for his damages. Many of the victims are more angered by the damage done to their relationships than by the money they receive. We have come to the conclusion that filing a civil lawsuit alongside the criminal one will help the victims recover emotionally.”
The 120 people joining the class action lawsuit are a tiny fraction of the total number of victims. One of them, a man in his fifties, Mr. C., tells us, “Just before Minegishi was arrested, he was arrested by the police.
Just before his arrest, Minegishi sent a message to his members saying that he would pay them a dividend if they returned, but those who filed the lawsuit would lose their status. Some of the former members are still being cheated by Minegishi.
Mr. A and his colleagues thoroughly fought against the vicious scammers who took advantage of the loneliness and anxiety of the elderly.
From the June 30, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
Interview and text by Yuuki Okukubo, writer： Writer: Yuuki Okukubo PHOTO： Courtesy of the victim