Why “Rental Ex-Prisoners” is popular among victims of crime, where ex-convicts who swindled “60 million yen” can rent a room. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Why “Rental Ex-Prisoners” is popular among victims of crime, where ex-convicts who swindled “60 million yen” can rent a room.

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Funaim, who offers a “rental ex-convict” service

Perhaps because many people have come to use social networking services as a matter of course, the “rental XX” service has recently become a booming business.

Rental ____” is basically a service in which a person is asked to do something for a few hours for several thousand to several tens of thousands of yen. The “XX” can be made up of many different words, and many people have probably heard of the term “rental girlfriend.

Perhaps because of this boom, “rental XX” services are being created one after another, but one that is quite unique among them is “rental ex-convicts. What kind of demand is there for “ex-prisoners”? We asked Mr. Hunaim, who was sentenced to prison for a special fraud and has been working as a “rental ex-convict” since his release from prison, about the reality of this service.

I’m basically a jack-of-all-trades. I do everything from helping out at restaurants to helping people move, but I get a lot of crime-related advice, probably because I myself am a former con artist. Many of my clients are victims of crimes, perpetrators, and family members of perpetrators. I was defrauded out of 10 million yen by an investment scam committed by someone I met on an app. The police are not taking the case seriously, and I don’t have the money to ask a lawyer. What should I do? Other than that, we also get requests from people who are just curious and want to hear what an ex-convict has to say.

The fee structure has four levels: 500 yen for an e-mail consultation, 7,000 yen for a telephone consultation, 10,000 yen for three hours of work, and 20,000 yen for one day of work. He says he receives few requests for e-mail or phone calls, but many requests for face-to-face consultations. Mr. Hunaim has no special qualifications. It seems difficult for him to give accurate advice to victims of crimes, but what is the reason why he still receives requests on a regular basis?

We talk, sort out the situation, and suggest options for future action,” he says. For example, we tell crime victims that they can consult with the Consumer Affairs Center or call up to three times for free at Houterasu.

These are steps that anyone can take with a little research, but many people are unaware of them because people who have been involved in crimes are in a panic or at a loss. Also, having been a criminal myself, I know the thought processes, behavior patterns, and dislikes of criminals, so I sometimes tell them these things.

One thing that victims, offenders, and family members of offenders all have in common is that they have no one around them to listen to them. Even if you are a victim of fraud, when you tell your relatives or friends, they may blame you and say, “Are you stupid to fall for such a scam? They may blame you for falling for such a scam. I think there are things that only former prisoners, who are at the bottom of the social ladder, can talk about.

Although he receives requests intermittently, he only works one or two cases a week. He says that there are also many requests that he refuses. The most common example is a criminal solicitation, such as “Let’s commit fraud together. Nowadays, he refuses, saying, “Of course not, you idiot! but he used to be a hard-core criminal who made a living by scamming for more than 10 years. What changed him?

When I was in prison, I brought educational materials into the prison to study for my high school diploma and certification, and among these materials was a textbook on ethics. After three or four months of reading the textbook repeatedly, I suddenly began to think deeply about why I had come to think in the opposite way to the people in the textbook, even though we are the same person. Looking back, from my childhood, I was the kind of person who beat up my family and others around me when things didn’t go my way. I took it for granted that people were devoted to me, and I never returned the gratitude. I realized that I was really a selfish person.

That would make me a criminal. The moment I thought that, I wanted to kill myself. Tears flowed as I realized that I was a helpless person. Even if I get out of prison like this, I will just repeat it again. I decided to seriously change. Like the words of Jesus Christ, “Do unto others whatever you would have them do unto you,” which is known as the “Golden Rule,” I want to do things for the benefit of others after I am released from prison. I am still searching for what I should do for that purpose.

He was released from prison in ’21 and began operating X (formerly Twitter) in May. He changed the name of his activity from his prison term number 2716 to “Funaim,” as a reminder that he would be a prisoner for the rest of his life even if he entered society, and also announced that he was a former inmate. Then, he began to receive various consultations from victims and perpetrators of crimes through X. In order to broaden the scope of his activities, he started a service called “Rental Ex-Prisoners” in 2010.

He says, “Believe it or not, I don’t do this service for money. The remuneration is set at a minimum to keep the activity going. Once we start earning revenue from the YouTube activity we are doing now, we intend to make it free. I want to tell the world that when a crime is committed, everyone is unhappy, not only the victim and the perpetrator’s family, but also the perpetrator himself.”

There were three victims in the case in which Mr. Hunaim was involved, and the total amount of damage was approximately 60 million yen. He has settled with all of them and has repaid the full amount to two of them, but has not yet finished repaying one of them, who suffered the largest amount of damage. He said that he had a maximum monthly income of 20 million yen when he was a con artist, but now his monthly income is about 130,000 yen as a rented ex-convict and a part-time worker.

His monthly income has fallen from 20 million yen to 130,000 yen. Although it is rust from his own body, it must be quite stressful. I wonder if he is ever tempted to commit a crime.

When I was earning 20 million yen, I was full of desires. When I was earning 20 million yen, I was full of desire. I spent every day in the lap of luxury, going to the sex club, going to the cabaret club, buying brand-name goods, and traveling. But even though I was living like that, somehow I felt empty. As soon as I got something, I wanted something better. I had a feeling that there was a small hole in my heart that would never be filled.

Now I feel that I am helping someone. This is something I couldn’t feel no matter how extravagant I was back then, and it’s very satisfying.”

The “rental ex-convict” was not only about redemption, but also about more than that. Mr. Hunaim’s journey of rehabilitation continues.

Mr. Hunaim said that as a result of his crime, he has been cut off from his family.
In exchange for free “rental ex-convicts,” he would be allowed to shoot videos for YouTube.
  • Interview and writing Keitaro Haga PHOTO Takero Yui

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