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Man arrested for Hi, its me fraud scheme

Date Posted: 2004-03-04

Okinawa City Police arrested a 41-year-old man Monday on suspicion of defrauding an elderly woman out of considerable sum of money. Investigators say that Yoshinobu Gima called an 88-year-old woman seven times pretending to be her grandson who had run into trouble and needed money.

He reportedly used schemes as saying that he needed to buy a new machine for his business, or that he had a car accident and needed to pay up. Altogether he managed to collect Y720,000. The same man has been arrested for similar offenses before, but has so far avoided jail time.

Police say such frauds are one of the most persistent fraud schemes in Japan. Often called Hi, its me! scheme, because it targets elderly people and pretending to be their young relatives, the crooks have changed the scheme lately. Police officials say that now criminals often have several people involved, with one pretending to be the grandchild, another a lawyer, the third a policeman and one even a friend of the grandson.

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