Japanese blows town’s Covid relief fund after it appeared in his account

A Japanese man who was mistakenly sent ¥46.3m (£287,000/US$358,000) in Covid-19 relief funds has admitted he gambled away the entire amount in the space of a fortnight.

The 24-year-old, who has not been named, was sent the sum in April as part of a local government programme to help residents who were struggling financially as a result of the pandemic. But rather than sending him the correct amount – ¥100,000 (£621/US$774) – the town government of Abu, in western Japan, wired money intended for all 463 low-income households to his bank account, according to Japanese media reports.

After local officials realised their blunder, they filed a lawsuit on 12 May seeking the immediate return of the money plus legal costs, but were apparently unable to contact the recipient.

The man agreed to return the cash but then claimed, without explanation, that it had “been moved” from his account. Records showed he withdrew all of the money from his bank account between 8 to 21 April.

This week, his lawyer said he had gambled the entire sum on online casino sites using his mobile phone, adding that it would be “difficult” for his client to return the money because he does not own any assets.

Credit: theguardian.com


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