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Accountant steals Y10 million from fishermen association

Date Posted: 2007-08-09

She had the keys, the bank books and the trust of Yaeyama Fishermen’s Association.

The 30-year-old accounting worker violated that trust, embezzling at least ¥10 million from the southern Okinawa Prefecture island’s organization last year. The brazen thefts took place over a two-month period in spring 2006, as she handled the association’s money. Her illicit activities were uncovered by a Prefecture Regular Auditor’s Inspection, which found large variances between bank book figures and cash documents.

The woman has been arrested for the crime, and fired from the job. Still, the auditors have slapped the association leadership for not being more vigilant. They told the Fishermen’s Association it should have been watching bank books and accounting records daily, and not leaving everything to the woman unmonitored.

“I’m sorry I took the money from the safe,” the thief told police. She said “the money went to my relatives,” presumably for business interests.

Yaeyama Fishermen’s Association Chairman Kameichi Uehara apologized to his members, telling them “I feel very sorry. We had responsibility for checking the accounts and administrative policy, and we were wrong in not checking the system.

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