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Company officers sought for unpaid commissions

Date Posted: 2004-02-05

Okinawa Prefectural Police are looking for officials of a Tokyo-based dietary supplement trading company that closed their office in Naha City and disappeared without paying commissions to about 600 people who had worked as their sales representatives. According to the police, the unpaid commissions total about Y100 million.

The company’s business was organized as a classic pyramid scheme. The members were promised a commission on their sales, but they had first purchase the company’s products. However, the company stopped paying the commissions last August. Instead, they explained that they were planning to start a new business and asked the members to invest their commissions in the new venture.

Some of the members reportedly agreed, but others did not. “We wanted the company to pay our commissions first, and they agreed to start paying them from Dec. 1. Of course we saw none of it,” one disgruntled sales representative said. Finally, one of the members went to the company office December 15, and found it empty. He then contacted other members, and they decided to file a complaint with the police.

According to investigators, it turns out that the same owners had previously owned a jewelry company in Tokyo that was organized in the same manner. That company also vanished, leaving investors and sales representatives empty handed. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police is investigating that case.

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