I had known about the Tomigaya land for a long time. I had known about the land in Tomigaya for a long time and thought it was a good property in a prime location. At that time, an acquaintance of mine told me, ‘There is a person who is looking for a buyer for the land in Tomigaya. He is from a lawyer’s office that is entrusted by the landowner, and the price is said to be 600 million yen.
As a real estate agent, I thought that the land would fetch at least 800 million yen, and possibly even 1 billion yen, so I thought that I could surely expect a profit from resale. Moreover, the person looking for a buyer was a lawyer, so I had no idea that he was involved in a fraud.
That’s what Mr. A, the president of a real estate company in Tokyo, told me.
On December 1, the 2nd Investigation Division of the Metropolitan Police Department arrested Hisato Fukuda, 60, an unemployed man, and Yoshihito Yamaguchi, 54, a company officer, on suspicion of fraud. The two were arrested on suspicion of fraud. The two are believed to be “groundworkers” who pretend to be real land owners and cheat buyers out of their money.
In September 2003, the suspects pretended to be the owners of a 480 square meter plot of land in Tomigaya, Shibuya Ward, and defrauded a real estate company in Tokyo out of about 650 million yen. Yamaguchi is believed to have deceived the victims by pretending to be the real landowner’s official, and Fukuda is believed to have drawn the entire picture.
The plot of land is located in an upscale residential area near Yoyogi Park. The land has now been cleared, but it used to be overgrown with trees, making one wonder, “Why such a place in a prime location? (National newspaper reporter).
The president of the real estate company that was cheated out of 650 million yen is Mr. A. Mr. A looks back on the incident.
Mr. A recalls the incident: “In August 2003, through an acquaintance, I met a man claiming to be a lawyer named Seiji Yoshinaga, who was representing the landowner. The place was a lawyer’s office where he was said to be the owner. Presenting the landowner’s family register and passport, Yoshinaga said, ‘I have found a buyer for 600 million yen, but since we are meeting here, I can sell it to you for about 650 million yen. The reason for the lower price was that the landowner’s son had debts and he wanted to get the cash as soon as possible.
In fact, Yoshinaga was a former lawyer who had been disciplined for a fraud he had committed in collaboration with the landlord and others. However, Mr. A decided to buy the land in Tomigaya within a month or so after hearing the story.
I was told that he was in a hospital in Ginza and could not go out, so it was difficult to meet the landowner. In the end, I met with the landowner’s impersonator three days before the contract was signed, and at that point we had effectively decided on the deal. On the day of the contract, the suspect Yamaguchi was also there and said, ‘I’m the landowner’s driver and personal care provider.
I didn’t see Mr. Fukuda after all until the contract was completed. I wanted to get the land as soon as possible, and I was taken advantage of in some ways. But the main reason why we trusted him was because the landowner’s representative was a lawyer, and the negotiation took place at a lawyer’s office.
We were deceived, too.
Isao Mori, a non-fiction writer who reported on the case in detail in his book, ” Jichishi: A Group of Dark-Skinned Fraudsters Who Sell Off Other People’s Land,” said.
I think this is a case that sums up the cunning of the groundworkers. For one thing, the real owner of the land was an elderly man living in Taiwan, an overseas Chinese. This means that they anticipated that it would be very difficult to contact him. The other reason is that they used a lawyer’s law office as a place for the business meeting. The other was to use the lawyer’s law office as a place for the business meeting. The credibility of “lawyer” and “law office” was skillfully used to create a fraudulent case.
Fukuda was not a big name, but he was a “hotshot” in the groundwork industry. I interviewed Yamaguchi and Yoshinaga at length, and the bottom line is that they all say that they too were cheated. This kind of evasion is a common tactic of groundhog groups, but it becomes a cause of difficulty in the investigation.
Mr. A said.
I’m relieved that the two were arrested. I’m relieved that they have been arrested, but both Fukuda and Yamaguchi have had similar incidents since then. If they had been arrested earlier, I think it might have prevented other victims from being killed.
Both suspects, Fukuda and Yamaguchi, were arrested, but Yoshinaga died after the incident. Mr. Mori said, “There will definitely be similar incidents in the future.
I am sure that similar incidents will occur in the future. In this case, the case was discovered when the staff of the Legal Affairs Bureau saw through the forged seal. However, as digitalization progresses and the use of real seals becomes obsolete, it may become increasingly difficult to detect such incidents. There will be more and more methods of verification, such as fingerprinting and facial recognition, but the next step will be for groundhog groups to come up with methods to counteract them. I think the weasel-words will continue.
Today, too, the dark scam artists continue to swarm in the background. (Some titles are omitted in the text)
From the December 24, 2021 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Shinji Hasuo