Cult leader arrested for swindling 13 million yen through ‘prayer fees’

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The leader of a company known for pitching so-called spiritual-pressure sales has been arrested for swindling customers out of more than 13 million yen (€ 124,000 / $169,000), police said.

Japan’s Mainichi Daily News reports

Toru Saito, 53, who heads the Yamanashi-based group “Shinsekai,” stands accused of violating the Act for Punishment of Organized Crimes. Saito has reportedly denied the allegations.

According to Kanagawa Prefectural Police, Saito instructed the operators of “salons” in Tokyo affiliated with the Shinsekai group to defraud five customers of a total of 13.4 million yen between 2004 and 2006 under the pretext of “prayer fees” and other purposes.

Furthermore, Saito, who also serves as a board member of the group, had received some 1.5 billion yen in executive remunerations since 2001, according to Kanagawa Prefectural Police. […]

Law enforcers have already arrested four others including the operators of affiliated salons and indicted them for fraud.

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This post was last updated: Sep. 13, 2011