Japanese Man Gambles Away Town’s $358,000 COVID Relief Funds

7 months ago
Japanese Man Gambles Away Town’s $358,000 COVID Relief Funds
08:33
06 Jun

It’s a scenario that we have probably all considered – what would we do if we were mistakenly sent a fortune? Well, in Japan, one man is in serious hot water for deciding to gamble with his unexpected windfall – losing almost $360,000 of money earmarked as his town’s Covid relief funds.

24-year-old Sho Taguchi was accidentally sent the entire ¥46.3m ($358,000) intended for residents of Abu, a town in the Yamaguchi Prefecture of Honshu.

Some 460 low-income households in the town were supposed to receive $780 each, but Taguchi had other ideas, spunking the entire amount on offshore gambling sites.

“I’ve already moved the money. It can’t be returned. It cannot be undone anymore. I will not run. I will pay for my crime,” Taguchi said when authorities finally caught up with him.

A man purporting to be his lawyer told reporters that "all the money transferred was used up at overseas online casinos.”

However, the town’s mayor, Norihiko Hanada, didn’t seem to understand quite how serious a matter that is in the gambling world.

“We want to trace the flow of the money in the lawsuit. I want him to return it, it’s not too late,” said Hanada, unaware that offshore gambling is pretty much a black hole when it comes to any legal recourse, particularly if the sites have no connection to Japan.

Meanwhile, a remorseful Taguchi is apparently attempting to repay the money, though he will likely have to live a long and very prosperous life to do so, given his first repayment was just $774.


Last year we reported on the Connecticut politician who was arrested for allegedly stealing $636,000 of pandemic funds. 30-year-old Michael DiMassa reportedly spent a chunk of it in the Mohegan Sun casino and is now facing 20 years in prison...

Unlike the Japanese case that started with a clerical error, Connecticut State Representative DiMassa is alleged to have charged the city of West Haven more than $636,000 in fake consulting services, paid through his company, Compass Investment Group LLC.

In charge of emergency pandemic funds for the city, the federal indictment alleges DiMassa “made several large cash withdrawals from the Compass Investment Group LLC bank account, some of which were made shortly before or after he was recorded as having made a large cash “buy-in” of gaming chips at the Mohegan Sun Casino.”

DiMassa is said to have made six such buy-ins, totalling more than $33,000, and is currently out on a $250,000 bond, and currently “in treatment” for a gambling addiction, according to court reports.


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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more

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